The current understanding of the dynamics of gas-surface interactions is that all of the energy lost in the collision is transferred to vibrations of the target. Electronic excitations were shown to play a marginal role except for cases in which the impinging particles have energies of several electronvolts. Here we show that this picture does not hold for metal surfaces supporting acoustic surface plasmons. Such loss, dressed with a vibronic structure, is shown to make up a prominent energy transfer route down to the terahertz region for Ne atoms scattering off Cu(111) and is expected to dominate for most metals. This mechanism determines, e.g., the drag force acting on telecommunication satellites, which are typically gold-plated to reduce overheating by sunshine. The electronic excitations can be unambiguously discerned from the vibrational ones under mild hyperthermal impact conditions.

Prominence of Terahertz Acoustic Surface Plasmon Excitation in Gas-Surface Interaction with Metals

Bracco, G;Vattuone, L;Smerieri, M;Carraro, G;Savio, L;Paolini, G;Benedek, G;Rocca, M
2021-01-01

Abstract

The current understanding of the dynamics of gas-surface interactions is that all of the energy lost in the collision is transferred to vibrations of the target. Electronic excitations were shown to play a marginal role except for cases in which the impinging particles have energies of several electronvolts. Here we show that this picture does not hold for metal surfaces supporting acoustic surface plasmons. Such loss, dressed with a vibronic structure, is shown to make up a prominent energy transfer route down to the terahertz region for Ne atoms scattering off Cu(111) and is expected to dominate for most metals. This mechanism determines, e.g., the drag force acting on telecommunication satellites, which are typically gold-plated to reduce overheating by sunshine. The electronic excitations can be unambiguously discerned from the vibrational ones under mild hyperthermal impact conditions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1057550
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