Using time-evolution time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) within the adiabatic local-density approximation, we study the interactions between single electrons and molecular resonances at surfaces. Our system is a nitrogen molecule adsorbed on a ruthenium surface. The surface is modeled at two levels of approximation, first as a simple external potential and later as a 20-atom cluster. We perform a number of calculations on an electron hitting the adsorbed molecule from inside the surface and establish a picture, where the resonance is being probed by the hot electron. This enables us to extract the position of the resonance energy through a fitting procedure. It is demonstrated that with the model we can extract several properties of the system, such as the presence of resonance peaks, the time electrons stay on the molecule before returning to the surface when hitting a molecular resonance and the lowering of the resonance energy due to an image charge effect. Finally we apply the TDDFT procedure to only consider the decay of molecular excitations and find that it agrees quite well with the width of the projected density of Kohn-Sham states.
Bibliographical noteCopyright 2009 American Physical Society