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This thesis details a range of experiments and techniques that use the scattering of atomic beams from surfaces to both characterize a variety of interfaces and harness mass-specific scattering conditions to separate and enrich isotopic components in a mixture of gases.,Helium atom scattering has been used to characterize the surface structure and vibrational dynamics of methyl-terminated Ge(111), thereby elucidating the effects of organic termination on a rigid semiconductor interface. Helium atom scattering was employed as a surface-sensitive, non-destructive probe of the surface. By means of elastic gas-surface diffraction, this technique is capable of providing measurements of atomic spacing, step height, average atomic displacement as a function of surface temperature, gas-surface potential well depth, and surface Debye temperature. Inelastic time-of-flight studies provide highly resolved energy exchange measurements between helium atoms and collective lattice vibrations, or phonons; a collection of these measurements across a range of incident kinematic parameters allowed for a thorough mapping of low-energy phonons (e.g., the Rayleigh wave) across the surface Brillouin zone and subsequent comparison with complementary theoretical calculations. ,The scattering of molecular beams – here, hydrogen and deuterium from methyl-terminated Si(111) – enables the measurement of the anisotropy of the gas-surface interaction potential through rotationally inelastic diffraction (RID), whereby incident atoms can exchange internal energy between translational and rotational modes and diffract into unique angular channels as a result. The probability of rotational excitations as a function of incident energy and angle were measured and compared with electronic structure and scattering calculations to provide insight into the gas-surface interaction potential and hence the surface charge density distribution, revealing important details regarding the interaction of H2 with an organic-functionalized semiconductor interface.,Aside from their use as probes for surface structure and dynamics, atomic beam sources are also demonstrated to enable the efficient separation of gaseous mixtures of isotopes by means of diffraction and differential condensation. In the former method, the kinematic conditions for elastic diffraction result in an incident beam of natural abundance neon diffracting into isotopically distinct angles, resulting in the enrichment of a desired isotope; this purification can be improved by exploiting the difference in arrival times of the two isotopes at a given final angle. In the latter method, the identical incident velocities of coexpanded isotopes lead to minor but important differences in their incident kinetic energies, and thus their probability of adsorbing on a sufficiently cold surface, resulting in preferential condensation of a given isotope that depends on the energy of the incident beam. Both of these isotope separation techniques are made possible by the narrow velocity distribution and velocity seeding effect offered only by high-Mach number supersonic beam sources.,These experiments underscore the utility of supersonically expanded atomic and molecular beam sources as both extraordinarily precise probes of surface structure and dynamics and as a means for high-throughput, non-dissociative isotopic enrichment methods.


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