Indexed on: 21 Mar '17Published on: 21 Mar '17Published in: Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
A new scenario for the thermalization process of adsorbates at solid surfaces is proposed. The scenario is based on the existence of an electric dipole layer in which the electron wavefunctions extend over the positive ions, creating a strong local electric field which drags the electrons into the solid interior and repels the positive ions. During adsorption the electrons tunnel into the solid interior, conveying the excess energy. The positive ions are retarded by the field, losing the excess kinetic energy, and are located smoothly into the adsorption sites. In such a scheme, the excess energy is not dissipated locally, avoiding melting or the creation of defects which is in accordance with experiments. The scenario is supported by ab initio calculation results, including density function theory of the slabs representing the AlN surface and the Schrodinger equation for the time evolution of hydrogen-like atoms at the solid surface.