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Physica A 332 (2004) 548≠558
Surface instabilities in granular matter and
T. Astea;b;, U. Valbusab
aApplied Mathematics, RSPHYSSE, ANU, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
bINFM-Dipartimento di Fisica, Universit¬a di Genova, via Dodecaneso 33, Genova 16146, Italy
Received 18 August 2003; received in revised form 16 September 2003
We apply a theoretical approach, originally introduced to describe aeolian ripples formation in
sandy deserts, to the study of surface instability in ion-sputtered surfaces. The two phenomena
are distinct by several orders of magnitudes and by several physical mechanisms, but they
obey similar geometrical constraints and therefore they can be described by means of the same
approach. This opens a novel conceptual framework for the study of the dynamical surface
roughening and ripple formation on crystal and amorphous surfaces during ion sputtering.
c 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
PACS: 45.70.-n; 61.43.-j; 68.35.Ct; 68.55.Jk
Keywords: Granular systems; Surface instabilities; Ripple formation