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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Aug 31;99(9):096101. Epub 2007 Aug 27.

Physisorption of positronium on quartz surfaces.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208-3112, USA.

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  • Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Jan 11;100(1):019902.


Whether positronium (Ps) can be physisorbed on a material surface is of great fundamental interest, since it can lead to new insight regarding quantum sticking and is a necessary first step to try to obtain a Ps2 molecule on a material host. Experiments in the past have produced evidence for physisorbed Ps on a quartz surface, but firm theoretical support for such a conclusion was lacking. We present a first-principles density-functional calculation of the key parameters determining the interaction potential between Ps and an alpha-quartz surface. We show that there is indeed a bound state with an energy of 0.14 eV, a value which agrees very well with the experimental estimate of approximately 0.15 eV. Further, a brief energy analysis invoking the Langmuir-Hinshelwood mechanism for the reaction of physisorbed atoms shows that the formation and desorption of a Ps2 molecule in that picture is consistent with the above results.

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