Effective potentials for high Rydberg states in a magnetic field

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Experiments have shown a wealth of sharp spectral features, even above the ionization limit, for an atom in a uniform magnetic field, and subsequent detailed calculations have accounted for them. While not competing in accuracy with such treatments, we provide a simple quantum-mechanical description forsuch energy levels and their stability, developing ideas advanced by Fano at the time of the very first observations. Eigenstates in a few analytically derived potential wells account for major features of the experimental observations. The procedure may also be of interest in other situations where particle motion in two (or more) equally important fields leads to unexpected structures and stability.

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Physics Essays

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