Measured electron number statistics resulting from the impact of singly and multiply charged atomic, cluster and fullerene ions on atomically clean metal (polycrystalline gold) and insulator (lithium fluoride) surfaces depend in a characteristic manner on the given projectile-target combinations and projectile impact energies. Comparison with model statistics delivers, apart from the respective total electron yields, further information on the total numbers and single-electron emission probabilities of the complete electron ensemble taking part in the emission process. For potential emission induced by slow multicharged ions on gold, the present analysis provides new insights on hollow atom formation and decay in front of the surface, in excellent agreement with recently calculated hollow atom autoionization rates. © 1995.
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