Results are presented from molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of 100eVAr+ bombardment of a model polystyrene (PS) surface. The simulations show that the system transitions from an initially high sputter yield (SY) for the virgin polymer to a drastically lower SY as steady state is approached. This is consistent with corresponding ion beam experiments. The MD indicates that this drop in SY is due to the formation of a heavily cross-linked, dehydrogenated damaged layer. The thickness and structure of this layer are also consistent with ellipsometry and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements of Ar plasma-exposed PS samples.

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