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If a surface is hit with a low energy beam of electrons (with insufficient energy to penetrate the material), the electrons are diffracted like light waves and the pattern gives information about the structure of the surface. This makes it possible to deduce the arrangement of atoms on the surface of a single crystal.
Low energy electrons hitting a molecule on a surface can pass energy to the vibrations of the molecule. The energy lost by the electrons can be measured, giving information about vibrational spectra of molecules. This spectrum can both identify the molecule, and give information about how it is positioned on a surface.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Low Energy Electron Diffraction
Although the LEED technique has been in use for some time, the York apparatus is unusual in that it collects diffraction information in a hemisphere round the sample, providing more data.
Low Energy Electron Diffraction Apparatus
Used to investigate surface structure