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Orbital alignment in atoms generated by photodetachment in a strong laser field

Journal article
Authors M. Eklund
H. Hultgren
Dag Hanstorp
I. Y. Kiyan
Published in Physical Review A
Volume 88
Issue 2
Pages artikel nr 023423
ISSN 1050-2947
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Pages artikel nr 023423
Language en
Subject categories Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics


A pump-probe laser scheme is employed to investigate orbital alignment and its dynamics in the ground state of laser-generated neutral atoms. The alignment is initiated by electron photodetachment of an atomic negative ion in a strong laser pulse. The electron density distribution in the ground state of the residual atom is probed by means of strong-field ionization in a second laser pulse at a delayed time. The principle of the probe method relies on the fact that the portion of the electron density distribution oriented along the laser polarization axis constitutes the ionization yield in the high-energy jets of emitted electrons. A systematic study is carried out on C, Si, and Ge atoms, which possess two electrons in an open p shell. A pronounced temporal modulation in the yield of high-energy electrons is observed for C and Si, revealing a periodic spatial rearrangement of the electron density distribution in these atoms. Its period is defined by the beat between the J = 1 and J = 2 spin-orbit components of the ground state.

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