Inelastic Lifetimes of Hot Electrons in Real Metals

Physical Review Letters 83, 2230 - 2233 (1999)

Inelastic Lifetimes of Hot Electrons in Real Metals

I. Campillo, J.M. Pitarke, A. Rubio, E. Zarate, P.M. Echenique

We report a first-principles description of inelastic lifetimes of excited electrons in real Cu and Al, which we compute, within the GW approximation of many-body theory, from the knowledge of the self-energy of the excited quasiparticle. Our full band-structure calculations indicate that actual lifetimes are the result of a delicate balance between localization, density of states, screening, and Fermi-surface topology. A major contribution from d electrons participating in the screening of electron-electron interactions yields lifetimes of excited electrons in copper that are larger than those of electrons in a free-electron gas with the electron density equal to that of valence ( 4s1) electrons. In aluminum, a simple metal with no d bands, splitting of the band structure over the Fermi level results in electron lifetimes that are smaller than those of electrons in a free-electron gas.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.83.2230

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