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J Chem Phys. 2006 Jun 28;124(24):244702.

Femtosecond laser induced associative desorption of H2 from Ru(0001): comparison of "first principles" theory with experiment.

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  • 1Physics Department, University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense M, Denmark.


A three dimensional model based on molecular dynamics with electronic frictions is developed to describe the femtosecond laser induced associative desorption of H2 from Ru(0001)(1 x 1)H. Two molecular coordinates (internuclear separation d and center of mass distance to surface z) and a single phonon coordinate are included in the dynamics. Both the potential energy surface and the electronic friction tensor are calculated by density functional theory so that there are no adjustable parameters in the comparison of this model with the wide range of experiments available for this system. This "first principles" dynamic model gives results in semiquantitative agreement with all experimental results; nonlinear fluence dependence of the yield, isotope effect, two pulse correlation, and energy partitioning. The good agreement of theory with experiment supports a description of this surface femtochemistry in terms of thermalized hot electron induced chemistry with coupling to nuclear coordinates through electronic frictions. By comparing the dynamics with the analytical one dimensional frictional model used previously to fit the experiments for this system, we show that the success of the one dimensional model is based on the rapid intermixing of the z and d coordinates as the H-H climbs out of the adsorption well. However, projecting the three dimensional dynamics onto one dimension introduces a fluence (adsorbate temperature) dependent "entropic" barrier in addition to the potential barrier for the chemistry. This implies that some caution must be used in interpreting activation energies obtained in fitting experiments to the one dimensional model.

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