Inelastic helium atom scattering from Sb2Te3(111): phonon dispersion, focusing effects and surfing

Adrian Ruckhofer, Simon Halbritter, Henriette E. Lund, Ann Julie U. Holt, Marco Bianchi, Martin Bremholm, Giorgio Benedek, Philip Hofmann, Wolfgang E. Ernst, Anton Tamtögl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present an experimental study of inelastic scattering processes on the (111) surface of the topological insulator Sb 2Te 3using helium atom scattering. In contrast to other binary topological insulators such as Bi 2Se 3and Bi 2Te 3, Sb 2Te 3is much less studied and the as-grown Sb 2Te 3sample turns out to be p-doped, with the Fermi-level located below the Dirac-point as confirmed by angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. We report the surface phonon dispersion along both high symmetry directions in the energy region below 11 meV, where the Rayleigh mode exhibits the strongest intensity. The experimental data is compared with a study based on density functional perturbation theory calculations, providing good agreement except for a set of additional peculiar inelastic events below the Rayleigh mode. In addition, an analysis of angular scans with respect to a number of additional inelastic events is presented, including resonance enhancement, kinematical focusing, focused inelastic resonance and surfing. In the latter case, phonon-assisted adsorption of the incident helium atom gives rise to a bound state where the helium atom rides the created Rayleigh wave.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7806-7813
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Chemistry, Chemical Physics
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science


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