Chemiluminescence in the Agglomeration of Metal Clusters

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Science  22 Nov 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5291, pp. 1353-1354
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5291.1353


The agglomeration of copper or silver atoms in a matrix of noble gas atoms to form small clusters may be accompanied by the emission of visible light. Spectral analysis reveals the intermediate formation of electronically excited atoms and dimers as the source of the chemiluminescence. A mechanism is proposed, according to which the gain in binding energy upon cluster formation may even lead to the ejection of excited fragments as a result of unstable intermediate configurations. A similar concept was introduced in the field of nuclear reactions by Niels Bohr 60 years ago.

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