We demonstrate evidence of selective laser-induced desorption of ground state Br(2P3/2) and spin–orbit excited state Br(2P1/2) atoms from KBr single crystals following 6.4 eV irradiation. Laser excitation tuned selectively to a surface resonance below the first bulk absorption band excites surface states preferentially leading to surface specific reactions while inducing relatively insignificant bulk reaction. The experimental results are supported by embedded cluster ab initio calculations that indicate a reduced surface exciton energy compared to that of the bulk exciton with a slight further reduction for steps and kink sites. Low fluence irradiation of cleaved KBr crystals, near the calculated surface exciton energy of 6.2 eV, produces hyperthermal Br(2P3/2) emission without a significant thermal or Br(2P1/2) component. The hyperthermal emission is shown theoretically to be characteristic of surface induced reaction of exciton decomposition while thermal emission is attributed to bulk photoreaction.

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