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.
|Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
|Published - Sep 20 2013