Ionization of Rydberg atoms by half-cycle pulses: Effect of pulse shape and rise time

Academic Article


  • The ionization of potassium np Rydberg atoms with n ∼ 388 by pulsed unidirectional electric fields, termed half-cycle pulses (HCPs), with various well characterized shapes (rectangular, triangular and sawtooth) and durations Tp comparable to the classical electron orbital period Tn is investigated. The experimental results are compared with classical trajectory Monte Carlo (CTMC) simulations and the classically scaled results of quantum calculations undertaken at n = 5. The data show that in the intermediate regime, Tp ≳ Tn, the threshold field for ionization becomes sensitive to the shape and rise time of the HCP, increasing with increasing rise time. For each pulse shape, the agreement between the experimental measurements and both the CTMC and quantum calculations is very good.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tannian BE; Popple RA; Dunning FB; Yoshida S; Reinhold CO; Burgdörfer J
  • Volume

  • 31
  • Issue

  • 10