Authors: Manson, J. R.; Benedek, G.; Miret-Artés, S.


Publication date: 2022/05/01

DOI: 10.1016/j.surfrep.2022.100552

Abstract: An atomic projectile colliding with a surface at kinetic energies in the thermal or hyperthermal range interacts with and is reflected by the electronic density well in front of the first layer of target atoms, and it is generally accepted that the repulsive interaction potential is proportional to the density of electrons extending outside the surface. This review develops a complete treatment of the elastic and inelastic scattering of atoms from a conducting surface in which the interaction with the electron density and its vibrations is treated using electron-phonon coupling theory. Starting from the basic principles of formal scattering theory, the elastic and inelastic scattering intensities are developed in a manner that identifies the small overlap region in the surface electron density where the projectile atom is repelled. The effective vibrational displacements of the electron gas, which lead to energy transfer through excitation of phonons, are directly related to the vibrational displacements of the atomic cores in the target crystal via electron-phonon coupling. The effective Debye-Waller factor for atom-surface scattering is developed and related to the mean square displacements of the atomic cores. The complex dependence of the Debye-Waller factor on momentum and energy of the projectile, including the effects of the attractive adsorption well in the interaction potential, are clearly defined. Applying the standard approximations of electron-phonon coupling theory for metals to the distorted wave Born approximation leads to expressions which relate the elastic and inelastic scattering intensities, as well as the Debye-Waller factor, to the well known electron-phonon coupling constant lambda. This treatment reproduces the previously obtained result that the intensities for single phonon inelastic peaks in the scattered spectra are proportional to the mode specific mass correction components lambda(Q,nu) defined by the relationship lambda = & LANGBRAC;lambda(Q,nu)& RANGBRAC;. The intensities of elastic diffraction peaks are shown to be a weighted sum over the lambda(Q,nu), and the Debye-Waller factor can also be expressed in terms of a similar weighted summation. In the simplest case the Debye-Waller exponent is shown to be proportional to lambda and for simple metals, metal overlayers, and other kinds of conducting surfaces values of lambda are extracted from available experimental data. This dependence of the elastic and inelastic scattering, and that of the Debye-Waller factor, on the electron-phonon coupling constant lambda shows that measurements of elastic and inelastic spectra of atomic scattering are capable of revealing detailed information about the electron-phonon coupling mechanism in the surface electron density. (c) 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.