Prominent out-of-plane diffraction in helium scattering from a methyl-terminated Si(111) surface
Due to their electrochemical and oxidative stability, organic-terminated semiconductor surfaces are well suited to applications in, for example, photoelectrodes and electrochemical cells, which explains the lively interest in their detailed characterization. Helium atom scattering (HAS) is a useful tool to carry out such characterization. Here, we have simulated HAS in He/CH3–Si(111) based on density functional theory (DFT) potential energy surfaces (PESs) and multi-configuration time-dependent Hartree (MCTDH) dynamics. Our analysis of HAS shows that most diffraction taking place in this system corresponds to high-order out-of-plane peaks. This is a general trend that does not depend on the specific features of the simulations, such as the inclusion or not of the van der Waals long-range effects. This is the first and only He-surface system for which such huge out-of-plane diffraction has been described. This striking theoretical finding should encourage new experimental developments to confirm this previously unreported effect.