Quantum interference is a striking manifestation of one of the basic concepts of quantum mechanics: the particle-wave duality. A spectacular visualization of this effect is the standing wave pattern produced by elastic scattering of surface electrons around defects, which corresponds to a modulation of the electronic local density of states and can be imaged using a scanning tunnelling microscope. To date, quantum-interference measurements were mainly interpreted in terms of interfering electrons or holes of the underlying band-structure description. Here, by imaging energy-dependent standing-wave patterns at noble metal surfaces, we reveal, in addition to the conventional surface-state band, the existence of an anomalous energy band with a well-defined dispersion. Its origin is explained by the presence of a satellite in the structure of the many-body spectral function, which is related to the acoustic surface plasmon. Visualizing the corresponding charge oscillations provides thus direct access to many-body interactions at the atomic scale.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)