Description: It is well known that a neutral atom interacting with a strong laser field will ionize at sufficiently high intensity even for photon energies well below the ionization threshold. When the required number of photons becomes very large, this process is best described by the suppression of the Coulomb barrier by the laser's oscillating electric field, allowing the electron to tunnel into the continuum. As the laser intensity is increased, more tightly bound electrons may be successively liberated by this mechanism. Such a sequential multiple ionization, long accepted as a reasonable approach to the formidable problem of a multielectron atom interacting nonperturbatively with an intense electromagnetic field, provides fair estimates of the various charge state appearance intensities while the tunneling rates are in excellent agreement with single ionization yields. However, more accurate measurements revealed systematic and very large deviations from the tunneling rates: near appearance intensity under standard experimental conditions, the observed double ion yield is several orders of magnitude larger than predicted by the sequential rate. It soon became clear that electrons could not be considered as independent and that electron-electron correlation had to be taken into account. Dynamic correlations have been considered in several theories. First qualitatively in the shakeoff model; then empirically through the e-2e cross-section in the quantum/classical three-step model (tunnel ionization, acceleration by the oscillating electric field and e-2e recollision with the ion); recently through the so-called intense field many-body-S-matrix theory and a purely empirical model of collective tunnel ionization. The validity of these ideas has been examined using numerical models. The measurement of total ion yields over a dynamic range exceeding ten orders of magnitude, a major breakthrough made possible by the availability of high-repetition rate lasers at the beginning of the 90's, was for a long time the only quantitative data to confront ...
Date: September 24, 2000
Creator: LAFON,R.; CHALOUPKA,J.L.; SHEEHY,B.; DIMAURO,L.F.; PAUL,P.M.; AGOSTINI,P. et al.
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