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Photoionization microscopy of the lithium atom: Wave-function imaging of quasibound and continuum Stark states

Abstract : Photoionization of an atom in the presence of a uniform static electric field provides the unique opportunity to expand and visualize the atomic wave function at a macroscopic scale. In a number of seminal publications dating back to the 1980s, Fabrikant, Demkov, Kondratovich and Ostrovsky showed that this goal could be achieved by projecting slow (meV) photoionized electrons onto a position-sensitive detector and underlined the distinction between continuum and resonant contributions. The uncovering of resonant signatures was achieved for the first time fairly recently in experiments on the non-hydrogenic lithium atoms [Cohen et al, Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 183001 (2013)]. The purpose of the present article is the general description of these findings, with emphasis on the various manifestations of resonant character. From this point of view, lithium has been chosen as an illustrative example between the two limiting cases of hydrogen, where resonance effects are more easily identified, and heavy atoms like xenon where resonant effects were not observed.
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S. Cohen, M. M. Harb, A. Ollagnier, F. Robicheaux, M. J. J. Vrakking, et al.. Photoionization microscopy of the lithium atom: Wave-function imaging of quasibound and continuum Stark states. Physical Review A, American Physical Society 2016, 94, pp.013414. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevA.94.013414⟩. ⟨hal-02303904⟩

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