Decay time of hollow argon atoms formed below metal and dielectric surfaces

J. P. Briand, R. Phaneuf, N. B. Aryal, K. K. Baral, C. M. Thomas, D. A. Esteves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Slow highly charged ions penetrating surfaces quickly capture many electrons in highly excited states, leaving empty the innermost shells, forming hollow atoms. These hollow atoms then fill their innermost shells in a stepwise manner through a long cascade of Auger and x-ray transitions. We have measured the mean emission depths of the series of x rays emitted during the decay cascade of Ar hollow atoms formed below the surface of metal and dielectric materials. It has been found that the decay times of these hollow atoms are much longer in dielectrics than in metals, and at keV/q kinetic energies, at depths of the order of 10-20 nm, considerably deeper than any expected value. These findings have been tentatively explained by the different responses of metals and dielectrics to the slow penetration of a highly charged ion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034901
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 20 2013


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