Properties of image-potential-induced surface states of insulators

Milton W. Cole

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170 Scopus citations


The strongly repulsive interaction between electrons and He or Ne atoms, or H2 molecules, gives rise to the existence of electronic states localized near a condensed medium consisting of such units. The attractive image potential binds the electrons weakly near the surface; the binding energy ranges from 0.4 meV for liquid He3 to 22 meV for solid D2. Motion parallel to the surface is nearly free-electron-like. An exploration of the interaction between electrons and oscillations of the medium's surface reveals a breakdown in perturbation theory which may be remedied by correct treatment of long-wavelength oscillations. A determination is made of the temperature-dependent mobility of electrons for fields parallel to the surface. We find that the surface waves scatter more for the liquid than for the solid. A transition occurs in the mobility as the temperature increases to a point where scattering by atoms of the vapor becomes dominant over other mechanisms. A second transition occurs when the electron in the vapor becomes localized in the bubble state, and the present treatment loses its validity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4239-4252
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1970

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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