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Institute of Optics


Visualization of the core-scattering dynamics of Rydberg wave packets

J. A. West and C. R. Stroud, Jr.

Opt. Expr. 1, 31 (1997)

We present classical and quantum studies of the scattering dynamics of Rydberg electron wave packets from the electronic core of alkali atoms. In quantum systems an ideal state for studying such effects is an angularly localized wave packet in which the primary effect of the scattering is to cause precession. The scattering is enhanced by the application of an external dc electric field. We calculate and animate the field-induced dynamics of both hydrogenic and alkali wave packets and compare them to classical atomic models. We find that in alkali systems the scattered wavefunction can be divided into two components: one whose nearly hydrogenic behavior is due to quantum interference near the core, and another which exhibits the orbital precession found in classical models of nonhydrogenic atoms.

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