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Ro-vibrational excitation, alignment and orientation distributions of fast non-dissociatively scattered molecules

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ken Snowdon


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The ro-vibrational distribution of fast diatomic molecules scattered from, an uncorrugated surface under strongly dissipative glancing incidence conditions is calculated. The classical trajectory simulation includes potential surface switching associated with hot-electron scattering processes. Both ro-vibrational excitation and strong alignment of the classical angular momentum vector in the surface plane ("cartwheel motion") are observed, independent of the occurrence of potential surface switching. Ro-vibrational excitation is enhanced strongly by transitions between potential surfaces. The resultant larger proportion of molecules in highly rotationally excited states leads to a higher fraction of cartwheel-aligned molecules in the scattered molecule ensemble. The molecules which dissociate in the simulation are characterised by surface normal peaked internuclear axis orientation distributions, this is in agreement with the results of recent experiments [A. Nesbitt et al., Surf. Sci. 331-333 (1995) 321]. We observe in addition, an enhanced rotational population of "topspin" oriented molecules, which arises from differences in the surface parallel oriented friction forces acting on each atom of the molecule. Glancing incidence scattering from well-prepared close-packed metal surfaces would appear to provide an efficient, general method to obtain a beam of preferentially aligned fast neutral diatomic molecules. © 1997 Elsevier Science B.V.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harder R, Snowdon KJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Surface Science

Year: 1997

Volume: 392

Issue: 1-3

Pages: 153-162

Print publication date: 01/12/1997

ISSN (print): 0039-6028

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/S0039-6028(97)00539-6


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