Hitting the Surface--Softly

Science  21 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5551, pp. 2488-2489
DOI: 10.1126/science.1067543

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During the adsorption of a molecule on a surface, energy is lost from the molecule. This loss can occur through many loss channels, including the emission of ions or electrons, the formation of electron-hole pairs, and excitation of lattice vibrations. In his Perspective, Auerbach discusses the relative importance of these loss channels for high and low interaction energies. He highlights the report by Gergen et al., who show that electron-hole pair formation is more important in low-energy adsorption than previously thought.