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Quantum dynamics of charge state in silicon field evaporation
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The charge state of an ion field-evaporating from a silicon-atom cluster is analyzed using time-dependent density functional theory coupled to molecular dynamics. The final charge state of the ion is shown to increase gradually with increasing external electrostatic field in agreement with the average charge state of silicon ions detected experimentally. When field evaporation is triggered by laser-induced electronic excitations the charge state also increases with increasing intensity of the laser pulse. At the evaporation threshold, the charge state of the evaporating ion does not depend on the electrostatic field due to the strong contribution of laser excitations to the ionization process both at low and high laser energies. A neutral silicon atom escaping the cluster due to its high initial kinetic energy is shown to be eventually ionized by external electrostatic field.
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