The use of electron scattering for studying atomic momentum distributions: The case of graphite and diamond

M. Vos, R. Moreh, K. Tökési

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19 Scopus citations


The momentum distributions of C atoms in polycrystalline diamond (produced by chemical vapor deposition) and in highly oriented pyrolitic graphite (HOPG) are studied by scattering of 40 keV electrons at 135°. By measuring the Doppler broadening of the energy of the elastically scattered electrons, we resolve a Compton profile of the motion of the C atoms. The aim of the present work is to resolve long-standing disagreements between the calculated kinetic energies of carbon atoms in HOPG and in diamond films and the measured ones, obtained both by neutron Compton scattering (NCS) and by nuclear resonance photon scattering (NRPS). The anisotropy of the momentum distribution in HOPG was measured by rotating the HOPG sample relative to the electron beam. The obtained kinetic energies for the motion component along, and perpendicular to, the graphite planes were somewhat higher than those obtained from the most recent NCS data of HOPG. Monte Carlo simulations indicate that multiple scattering adds about 2 to the obtained kinetic energies. The presence of different isotopes in carbon affects the measurement at a 1 level. After correcting for these contributions, the kinetic energies are 3-6 larger than the most recent NCS results for HOPG, but 15-25 smaller than the NRPS results. For diamond, the corrected direction-averaged kinetic energy is ≈ 6 larger than the calculated value. This compares favorably to the ≈25 discrepancy between theory and both the NCS and NRPS results for diamond.

Original languageEnglish
Article number024504
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 14 Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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