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Atmospheric water droplets can catalyse atom pair break-up via surface-induced resonance repulsion


M. Boström, C. Persson, D. F. Parsons, S. Å. Ellingsen, and Bo E. Sernelius

EPL, 101 (2013) 43002

doi: 10.1209/0295-5075/101/43002

We present the theory for a retarded resonance interaction between two identical atoms near a dielectric surface. In free space the resonance interaction between isotropically excited atom pairs is attractive at all atom-atom separations. We illustrate numerically how this interaction between oxygen, sulphur, hydrogen, or nitrogen atom pairs may turn repulsive near water droplets. The results provide evidence of a mechanism causing excited state atom pair breakage to occur in the atmosphere near water droplets.

Fig. The retarded resonance interaction between an excited pair of sulfur atoms having different orientations relative to the surface. Atom a is in a fixed position at xa = 0, za = 1 Å. Logarithmic contour plot of the potential landscape “seen” by atom b. The thick lines show U = 0 with U >0 above and U <0 below it, respectively.

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Last updated: 02/28/13