Highly efficient double ionization of mixed alkali dimers by intermolecular Coulombic decay

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  • Aaron LaForge, Universität Freiburg, University of Connecticut
  • ,
  • Mykola Shcherbinin
  • Frank Stienkemeier, Universität Freiburg
  • ,
  • Robert Richter, Elettra-Sincrotrone Trieste, Trieste,
  • Robert Moshammer, Max Planck Institut für Kernphysik
  • ,
  • Thomas Pfeifer, Max Planck Institut für Kernphysik
  • ,
  • Marcel Mudrich

As opposed to purely molecular systems where electron dynamics proceed only through intramolecular processes, weakly bound complexes such as He droplets offer an environment where local excitations can interact with neighbouring embedded molecules leading to new intermolecular relaxation mechanisms. Here, we report on a new decay mechanism leading to the double ionization of alkali dimers attached to He droplets by intermolecular energy transfer. From the electron spectra, the process is similar to the well-known shake-off mechanism observed in double Auger decay and single-photon double ionization 1,2 , however, in this case, the process is dominant, occurring with efficiencies equal to, or greater than, single ionization by energy transfer. Although an alkali dimer attached to a He droplet is a model case, the decay mechanism is relevant for any system where the excitation energy of one constituent exceeds the double ionization potential of another neighbouring molecule. The process is, in particular, relevant for biological systems, where radicals and slow electrons are known to cause radiation damage 3 .

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftNature Physics
Vol/bind15
Nummer3
Sider (fra-til)247-250
Antal sider4
ISSN1745-2473
DOI
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2019

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