Ionization of Stark states with half-cycle pulses: Interference effects in the continuum

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We study the ionization of extreme Stark states in sodium by THz electromagnetic half-cycle pulses. The results of our full-quantum calculations reveal the presence of an oscillatory pattern in the ionization spectra of extreme red (downhill) states that have been kicked away from the ion core (downhill with respect to the potential imposed by the Stark field). We find no oscillations in the spectra of extreme blue (uphill) states that have been kicked towards the ion core (also downhill with respect to the Stark potential). The oscillatory pattern in the red state ionization spectra is explained with a one-dimensional semiclassical model in terms of interferences between two classical paths. This model also predicts that the blue state ionization spectra should also show oscillatory behavior. The absence of the oscillations in the full calculations can be regarded as a breakdown of the one-dimensional model in representing the ionization dynamics of these states. We find that the one-dimensional model fails when the duration of the THz pulse is comparable to the classical Kepler orbit time. © 2003 The American Physical Society.

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Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

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