Observation of free hole gases at ambient conditions

H.C. Mastwijk, H.J. Wichers, C. van Dijk

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Letter to the editorAcademic


By studying fluctuations in the electrostatic potential of a single electrode, we were able to perform in-situ electron spectroscopy. Electron exchange processes that occur at the surface of the electrode were triggered by the surface Auger process at ambient conditions. Ongoing redox reactions were decomposed into their two fundamental half reactions and the reduction and oxidation potentials were detected. We found that redox reactions near the electrode surface are the result of binary interactions of a free electron gas with a free hole gas that occur on a femto second time scale. The measured lifetimes of electron-hole recombination processes and the elastic scattering rate of the hole-hole process are in fair agreement with theoretical estimates. The observed asymmetry in the energy distributions of free electron and free hole ensembles suggests that at thermal equilibrium the identity of hole differs from that of an electron vacancy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0711.473v1
Number of pages9
JournalCondensed Matter: Strongly Correlated Electrons
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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