On the Detection of Chemically-Induced Hot Electrons in Surface Processes: From X-ray Edges to Schottky Barriers
John William Gadzuk
The potential involvement of electron-hole pair excitations in atomic/molecular processes such as sticking/adsorption/dissociation at metal surfaces has long been debated, particularly by those previously involved with similar issues in electron spectroscopies of localized core levels in solids. Recent experiments have detected hot electrons produced as various gases were adsorbed on a thin metal film that formed a Schottky barrier with an n-type Si substrate upon which the film was deposited. Drawing upon analogies with spectroscopic processes leading to the x-ray edge singularity, a theoretical model for the electronically non-adiabatic effects is presented here that accounts for the observed hot electron production.