hide
Free keywords:

Abstract:
Energy loss from the translational motion of an atom or molecule impinging on a metal surface to the surface may determine whether the incident particle can trap on the surface, and whether it has enough energy left to react with another molecule present at the surface. Although this is relevant to heterogeneous catalysis, the relative extent to which energy loss of hot atoms takes place to phonons or electronhole pair (ehp) excitation, and its dependence on the system's parameters, remain largely unknown. We address these questions for two systems that present an extreme case of the mass ratio of the incident atom to the surface atom, i.e., H + Cu(111) and H + Au(111), by presenting adiabatic ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) predictions of the energy loss and angular distributions for an incidence energy of 5 eV. The results are compared to the results of AIMDEFp calculations modeling energy loss to ehp excitation using an electronic friction (“EF”) model applied to the AIMD trajectories, so that the energy loss to the electrons is calculated “post” (“p”) the computation of the AIMD trajectory. The AIMD calculations predict average energy losses of 0.38 eV for Cu(111) and 0.130.14 eV for Au(111) for Hatoms that scatter from these surfaces without penetrating the surface. These energies closely correspond with energy losses predicted with Baule models, which is suggestive of structure scattering. The predicted adiabatic integral energy loss spectra (integrated over all final scattering angles) all display a lowest energy peak at an energy corresponding to approximately 80% of the average adiabatic energy loss for nonpenetrative scattering. In the adiabatic limit, this suggests a way of determining the approximate average energy loss of nonpenetratively scattered Hatoms from the integral energy loss spectrum of all scattered Hatoms. The AIMDEFp calculations predict that in each case the lowest energy loss peak should show additional energy loss in the range 0.20.3 eV due to ehp excitation, which should be possible to observe. The average nonadiabatic energy losses for nonpenetrative scattering exceed the adiabatic losses to phonons by 0.91.0 eV. This suggests that for scattering of hyperthermal Hatoms from coinage metals the dominant energy dissipation channel should be to ehp excitation. These predictions can be tested by experiments that combine techniques for generating Hatom beams that are well resolved in translational energy and for detecting the scattered atoms with high energyresolution.