Low energy charged particles interacting with amorphous solid water layers

Yonatan Horowitz*, Micha Asscher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interaction of charged particles with condensed water films has been studied extensively in recent years due to its importance in biological systems, ecology as well as interstellar processes. We have studied low energy electrons (3-25 eV) and positive argon ions (55 eV) charging effects on amorphous solid water (ASW) and ice films, 120-1080 ML thick, deposited on ruthenium single crystal under ultrahigh vacuum conditions. Charging the ASW films by both electrons and positive argon ions has been measured using a Kelvin probe for contact potential difference (CPD) detection and found to obey plate capacitor physics. The incoming electrons kinetic energy has defined the maximum measurable CPD values by retarding further impinging electrons. L-defects (shallow traps) are suggested to be populated by the penetrating electrons and stabilize them. Low energy electron transmission measurements (currents of 0.4-1.5 μA) have shown that the maximal and stable CPD values were obtained only after a relatively slow change has been completed within the ASW structure. Once the film has been stabilized, the spontaneous discharge was measured over a period of several hours at 103 ± 2 K. Finally, UV laser photo-emission study of the charged films has suggested that the negative charges tend to reside primarily at the ASW-vacuum interface, in good agreement with the known behavior of charged water clusters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number134701
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number13
StatePublished - 7 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


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