The role of electron-phonon interactions in energetic displacement cascades in metals is evaluated by considering the diffusion of electrons in a localized heat spike. It is found that the electronic system in this region always falls out of equilibrium with the lattice at long times and that whether electronic equilibrium is achieved at short times depends almost catastrophically on the parameters that describe the electron-phonon interaction. Neglect of the electron-phonon coupling may lead to overestimates of thermal spike temperatures in many metals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics