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Unimolecular dissociation of trivalent metal cluster ions (Al n + , Ga n + , In n + ): evidence for a transition from covalent to metallic bonding

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Abstract

Unimolecular dissociation of aluminum, gallium and indium clusters is investigated. Small sizes dissociate into two channels: either the evaporation of a neutral or a charged monomer. Above a given size nc, only dissociation of a neutral atom subsists. The evaporation of a charged monomer is characteristic of trivalent metal clusters and is consistent with the size evolution of the ionization potential towards the atomic value. The experiments are interpreted in the framework of the statistical R.R.K. model. For smaller sizes (n < nc), as two evaporation processes are in competition, we have evaluated cluster relative dissociation energies and ionization potentials. The competition between the two evaporation channels is well mirrored by the evolution of the ionization potentials independently measured by near-threshold photoionization experiments. For gallium, our measurements have revealed that the covalent to metal transition occurs for larger sizes (n = 30–50 atoms) than for aluminum clusters.

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Correspondence to E. Cottancin.

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Cottancin, E., Pellarin, M., Lermé, J. et al. Unimolecular dissociation of trivalent metal cluster ions (Al n + , Ga n + , In n + ): evidence for a transition from covalent to metallic bonding. Z Phys D - Atoms, Molecules and Clusters 40, 288–293 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004600050211

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PACS

  • 36.40.+d
  • 35.20 Vf