Cosmic rays lose energy upon collision with debris or planets. Researchers simulate this process using the collision of electrons with a moving surface.
New research reported in EPJ D offers a basic model for simulating the collisions of cosmic rays with planets by referring to the model of electrons isolated from a negative ion by photons.
In this study, Chinese physicists have shown for the first time that the dynamics of negative ion detachment can be controlled using photons, or photodetachment, on a moving surface. De-hua Wang from Ludong University, Yantai, China, and collaborators have created computer simulations and mathematical equations demonstrating that the chance of such photodetachment to occur is dependent on the energy of the electron and the speed of the moving surface.
To this end, negative ions like hydrogen (H−) or chloride (Cl−) ions are regarded to be a good source of electrons, since they are formed of one electron loosely bound to the neutral atom by a short-range energy potential. Ions such as these can be transformed into electron guns under a strong electric field with the potential to scrape electrons away—thereby enabling electrically charged cosmic rays to be modeled.
These electron guns produced interference patterns. In fact, this is sparked by the detached electron wave that returns back to the nucleus of the ion under the influence of the external fields that interfere with the new electron wave. When the moving surface’s speed reaches a specific threshold, its impact on the likelihood of photodetachment occurring becomes significant.
The authors also discovered that the effect of the moving surface on the photodetachment of Chloride (Cl−) ions is less pronounced than that of the hydrogen (H−) ions.