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On the validity of trajectory methods for calculating the transport of very low energy ( < 1 keV) electrons in liquids and amorphous media
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics.
2014 (English)In: Radiation Physics and Chemistry, ISSN 0969-806X, Vol. 99, 45-52 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is easily demonstrated that a trajectory picture of low energy electron transport in condensed matter is not compatible with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. The uncertainty in the position of a low energy electron is large and may in fact be larger than an entire simulated trajectory. This might be interpreted to mean that trajectory methods are not applicable. However, this conclusion is not correct. In the present paper, the evidence for the validity of low energy electron trajectory simulation is discussed, as well as the wave aspects and quantum nature of low energy electron transport in liquids and amorphous solids. It is pointed out that the validity of a trajectory approach to low energy electron transport in a liquid or amorphous solid partly is due to its ability to reproduce the average results of coherent elastic multiple wave scattering in a randomlike medium, and moreover that this ability may be further enhanced by the presence of inelastic scattering. The resulting validity of the trajectory method may be referred to as circumstancial validity, which is of a nature different from the explicit validity of trajectory methods which are compatible with the uncertainty principle. A previous systematic analysis of the limits of circumstancial validity is revisited and discussed for the basic case of multiple elastic scattering of a particle in a random medium of point scatterers. The detailed limits of circumstancial validity are graphically demonstrated in terms of particle wavelength, average distance between scatterers and elastic mean free path. Their immediate applicability to neutron transport is noted. The approximate nature of the point scatterer model as regards electron transport is adressed. In order to obtain an extrapolation of the result of the point scatterer model, it is observed that an increasing error of the trajectory method appears together with an increased amplitude of the multiple wave scattering taking place within the medium. On the basis of this observation, an extrapolation is proposed which provides a rough estimate of the relative error of the trajectory method when applied to multiple elastic scattering of low energy electrons in real liquids or amorphous solids.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 99, 45-52 p.
Keyword [en]
Trajectory simulation, Low energy electron, Track structure, Elastic scattering, Multiple scattering
National Category
Physical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104118DOI: 10.1016/j.radphyschem.2014.02.015ISI: 000335096100009OAI: diva2:721015


Available from: 2014-06-03 Created: 2014-06-03 Last updated: 2014-06-03Bibliographically approved

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