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The bombardment of the surface of a solid by energetic ions often results in pronounced surface modifications, leading to characteristic topographical features. In this report, the development of specific morphological nanostructures on surfaces under ion irradiation is discussed. The following aspects will be emphasized: (i) on an atomic scale, the generation of isolated defects such as adatoms and surface vacancies due to single-ion impacts, and their possible clustering; (ii) the transitiondoi:10.1351/pac-con-11-03-05 fatcat:m2cv3l6ocngz7cud7oxxiodc3m