Inelastic electron injection in a water chain

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Irradiation of biological matter triggers a cascade of secondary particles that interact with their surroundings, resulting in damage. Low-energy electrons are one of the main secondary species and electron-phonon interaction plays a fundamental role in their dynamics. We have developed a method to capture the electron-phonon inelastic energy exchange in real time and have used it to inject electrons into a simple system that models a biological environment, a water chain. We simulated both an incoming electron pulse and a steady stream of electrons and found that electrons with energies just outside bands of excited molecular states can enter the chain through phonon emission or absorption. Furthermore, this phonon-assisted dynamical behaviour shows great sensitivity to the vibrational temperature, highlighting a crucial controlling factor for the injection and propagation of electrons in water.
Original languageEnglish
Article number45410
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2017


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