An accurate full-dimensional potential energy surface for H-Au(111): Importance of nonadiabatic electronic excitation in energy transfer and adsorption

J Chem Phys. 2015 Sep 28;143(12):124708. doi: 10.1063/1.4931669.


We have constructed a potential energy surface (PES) for H-atoms interacting with fcc Au(111) based on fitting the analytic form of the energy from Effective Medium Theory (EMT) to ab initio energy values calculated with density functional theory. The fit used input from configurations of the H-Au system with Au atoms at their lattice positions as well as configurations with the Au atoms displaced from their lattice positions. It reproduces the energy, in full dimension, not only for the configurations used as input but also for a large number of additional configurations derived from ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) trajectories at finite temperature. Adiabatic molecular dynamics simulations on this PES reproduce the energy loss behavior of AIMD. EMT also provides expressions for the embedding electron density, which enabled us to develop a self-consistent approach to simulate nonadiabatic electron-hole pair excitation and their effect on the motion of the incident H-atoms. For H atoms with an energy of 2.7 eV colliding with Au, electron-hole pair excitation is by far the most important energy loss pathway, giving an average energy loss ≈3 times that of the adiabatic case. This increased energy loss enhances the probability of the H-atom remaining on or in the Au slab by a factor of 2. The most likely outcome for H-atoms that are not scattered also depends prodigiously on the energy transfer mechanism; for the nonadiabatic case, more than 50% of the H-atoms which do not scatter are adsorbed on the surface, while for the adiabatic case more than 50% pass entirely through the 4 layer simulation slab.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Electrons
  • Gold / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen / chemistry*
  • Models, Chemical
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Temperature


  • Gold
  • Hydrogen