Population trapping in short-pulse laser ionization
Jonathan Parker and C. R. Stroud, Jr.
Phys. Rev. A 41, 1602 (1990).
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The finite bandwidth of a short laser pulse often overlaps several
initially unpopulated low-lying excited states of an atom. We show that
when such a pulse is used to photoionize an atom, the low-lying levels may
be pumped into a coherent superposition that inhibits or prevents
excitation of the atom, effectively trapping population in the initial
state of the atom. The existence of the effect was first noted in a
numerical study of short-pulse excitation of hydrogen. Here we explore the
effect through a series of simple models that demonstrate the physics of
the effect in the simplest possible situations.
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