We have investigated the grazing angle scattering of fast heavy ions (He, Ne and Ar at 0.05-3.0 MeV) from copper and gold surfaces by (a) measuring the angular distribution of the scattered ion distribution and (b) observing the states of polarization of light emitted from excited states of the scattered ions. The ion distributions disagree significantly with those calculated by Firsov, but agree with previous lower velocity measurements. The polarization is strongly dependent on the angle of scattering and we show evidence that the atomic orientation depends principally upon the exit grazing angle. We discuss the surface collision mechanisms.
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