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Surface scattering

Mysterious energy losses

The adiabatic approximation is often applied to describe the scattering of molecules or atoms from solid surfaces. Now, unusual energy loss has been observed during the scattering of hyperthermal hydrogen atoms from a single crystalline Ge(111) surface — suggesting the existence of a non-adiabatic mechanism involving electronic interband transitions in the Ge that are induced by the hydrogen atoms.

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Fig. 1: Energy transfer during scattering of hyperthermal H atoms from Ge(111)c(2 × 8).


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Correspondence to Hermann Nienhaus.

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Nienhaus, H. Mysterious energy losses. Nat. Chem. 15, 301–302 (2023).

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