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Unified description of H-atom-induced chemicurrents and inelastic scattering.

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Kandratsenka,  A.
Department of Dynamics at Surfaces, MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Janke,  S. M.
Department of Dynamics at Surfaces, MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Kammler,  M.
Department of Dynamics at Surfaces, MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Wodtke,  A. M.
Department of Dynamics at Surfaces, MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Bünermann,  O.
Department of Dynamics at Surfaces, MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kandratsenka, A., Jiang, H., Dorenkamp, Y., Janke, S. M., Kammler, M., Wodtke, A. M., et al. (2018). Unified description of H-atom-induced chemicurrents and inelastic scattering. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(4), 680-684. doi:10.1073/pnas.1710587115.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-270E-6
Abstract
The Born-Oppenheimer approximation (BOA) provides the foundation for virtually all computational studies of chemical binding and reactivity, and it is the justification for the widely used "balls and springs" picture of molecules. The BOA assumes that nuclei effectively stand still on the timescale of electronic motion, due to their large masses relative to electrons. This implies electrons never change their energy quantum state. When molecules react, atoms must move, meaning that electrons may become excited in violation of the BOA. Such electronic excitation is clearly seen for: (i) Schottky diodes where H adsorption at Ag surfaces produces electrical "chemicurrent;" (ii) Au-based metal-insulator-metal (MIM) devices, where chemicurrents arise from H-H surface recombination; and (iii) Inelastic energy transfer, where H collisions with Au surfaces show H-atom translation excites the metal's electrons. As part of this work, we report isotopically selective hydrogen/deuterium (H/D) translational inelasticity measurements in collisions with Ag and Au. Together, these experiments provide an opportunity to test new theories that simultaneously describe both nuclear and electronic motion, a standing challenge to the field. Here, we show results of a recently developed first-principles theory that quantitatively explains both inelastic scattering experiments that probe nuclear motion and chemicurrent experiments that probe electronic excitation. The theory explains the magnitude of chemicurrents on Ag Schottky diodes and resolves an apparent paradox--chemicurrents exhibit a much larger isotope effect than does H/D inelastic scattering. It also explains why, unlike Ag-based Schottky diodes, Au-based MIM devices are insensitive to H adsorption.