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Effect of scattering by random surface inhomogeneities on transport along the walls and localization in ultrathin systems is analyzed. A simple universal surface collision operator is derived outside of the quantum resonance domain. This operator contains all relevant information on statistical and geometrical characteristics of weak roughness and can be used as a general boundary condition on the corrugated surfaces. In effect, the boundary problem for the three-dimensional (3D) transport equation is replaced by the explicit matrix collision operator coupling a set of 2D transport equations. This operator is applied to a variety of systems including ultrathin films and channels with rough walls, particles adsorbed on or bound to rough substrates, multilayer systems with randomly corrugated interfaces, etc. The main emphasis is on quantization of motion between the walls, though the quasiclassical limit is considered as well. The diffusion and mobility coefficients, localization length, and other parameters are expressed analytically or semianalytically via the intrawall and interwall correlation functions of surface corrugation.

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©1999 The American Physical Society