The Sommerfeld ground-wave limit for a molecule adsorbed at a surface

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Science  11 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6423, pp. 158-161
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav4278

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Climbing vibrational levels

Vibrational excitation of molecules adsorbed on a surface is usually limited because the vibrational energy is rapidly transferred into phonons, the vibrational modes of the substrate. Chen et al. found that this is not the case for CO molecules adsorbed on a surface of NaCl. The CO molecules efficiently transferred vibrational energy within groups of molecules from one high excitation state to another until they reached the dissociation limit. This process was possible because of the close proximity of the molecules and the limited transfer of energy to just one phonon mode in the salt surface.

Science, this issue p. 158