Campbell, Eleanor Max-Born-Institut, Berlin, Germany.
- Probing with laser pulses
- Clusters on surfaces
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Clusters are aggregates of atoms (or molecules) containing between three and a few thousand atoms that have properties intermediate between those of the isolated monomer (atom or molecule) and the bulk or solid-state material. The study of such species has been an increasingly active research field since about 1980. This activity is due to the fundamental interest in studying a completely new area that can bridge the gap between atomic and solid-state physics and also shows many analogies to nuclear physics. However, the research is also done for its potential technological interest in areas such as catalysis, photography, and epitaxy. A characteristic of clusters which is responsible for many of their interesting properties is the large number of atoms at the surface compared to those in the cluster interior. For many kinds of atomic clusters, all atoms are at the surface for sizes of up to 12 atoms. As the clusters grow further in size, the relative number of atoms at the surface scales as approximately 4N−1/3, where N is the total number of atoms. Even in a cluster as big as 105 atoms, almost 10% of the atoms are at the surface. Clusters can be placed in the following categories:
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