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The Journal of Chemical Physics




The interaction of atomic and molecular species with water and ice is of fundamental importance for chemistry. In a previous series of publications, we demonstrated that translational energy activates the embedding of Xe and Kr atoms in the near surface region of ice surfaces. In this paper, we show that inert molecular species may be absorbed in a similar fashion.We also revisit Xe embedding, and further probe the nature of the absorption into the selvedge. CF4 molecules with high translational energies (≥3 eV) were observed to embed in amorphous solid water. Just as with Xe, the initial adsorption rate is strongly activated by translational energy, but the CF4 embedding probability is much less than for Xe. In addition, a larger molecule, SF6, did not embed at the same translational energies that both CF4 and Xe embedded. The embedding rate for a given energy thus goes in the order Xe > CF4 > SF6. We do not have as much data for Kr, but it appears to have a rate that is between that of Xe and CF4. Tentatively, this order suggests that for Xe and CF4, which have similar van der Waals radii, the momentum is the key factor in determining whether the incident atom or molecule can penetrate deeply enough below the surface to embed. The more massive SF6 molecule also has a larger van der Waals radius, which appears to prevent it from stably embedding in the selvedge. We also determined that the maximum depth of embedding is less than the equivalent of four layers of hexagonal ice, while some of the atoms just below the ice surface can escape before ice desorption begins. These results show that energetic ballistic embedding in ice is a general phenomenon, and represents a significant new channel by which incident species can be trapped under conditions where they would otherwise not be bound stably as surface adsorbates. These findings have implications for many fields including environmental science, trace gas collection and release, and the chemical composition of astrophysical icy bodies in space.




Author Posting. © American Institute of Physics, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Institute of Physics for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in The Journal of Chemical Physics 141, 18C514 (2014).

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