The free-electron-like surface state of Mg(0001) is strongly modified in thin films grown on W(110). The long bulk penetration length of its wave function makes it sensitive to the reflective properties of the buried interface, and hence to the complex electronic structure of the substrate. In particular we find a many-fold splitting of the Mg surface band by entering a wide projected band gap of W(110). There is a strong thickness-dependent two-band splitting, which is a clear signature of the formation of a surface-interface resonant state. An additional split-off from these two surface bands is explained by the substrate induced spin-orbit interaction.
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