The production of self-organized, spatially dense nanodots on a MgO(100) surface by Ar+ bombardment at elevated sample temperatures (700 and 1000 °C) and ion energies in the range 0.5–5 keV is reported. The results show that at elevated temperatures, the size of the nanodots can be modified by varying the ion energy in a well-defined manner. The nanodot diameter is found to increase with increasing temperature and decrease with increasing ion flux and increasing ion energy. The dot diameter is several tens of nanometers and the height is several nanometers. These results can be interpreted in terms of a recently developed theoretical model. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.