Damage formation in 111- and 112-oriented CdTe single crystals irradiated at room temperature and 15 K with 270 keV Ar or 730 keV Sb ions was investigated in situ using Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy (RBS) in channeling configuration. Defect profiles were calculated from the RBS spectra using the computer code DICADA and additional energy-dependent RBS measurements were performed to identify the type of defects. At both temperatures no formation of a buried amorphous layer was detected even after prolonged irradiation with several 1016 ions/cm2. The fact that CdTe is not rendered amorphous even at 15 K suggests that the high resistance to amorphization is caused by the high ionicity of CdTe rather than thermal effects. The calculated defect profiles show the formation of a broad defect distribution that extends much deeper into the crystal than the projected range of the implanted ions at both temperatures. The post-range defects in CdTe thus do not seem to be of thermal origin either, but are instead believed to result from migration driven by the electronic energy loss.

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