ELECTRIC FIELD IONIZATION OF HIGHLY EXCITED RUBIDIUM ATOMS (COLLISIONS, RYDBERG)
MCMILLIAN, GARY BENTON
Doctor of Philosophy
A frequency stabilized ring dye laser, with a linewidth of (TURN)250 kHz, has been utilized to selectively excite Rb(N('2)S, N('2)D) states in the range N = 20 - 100 by a two photon process. The highly excited atoms were detected by the technique of electric field ionization. Excited states with (VBAR)M(,L)(VBAR) < 3 have been observed to ionize along predominantly adiabatic paths and states with (VBAR)M(,L)(VBAR) (GREATERTHEQ) 3 have been observed to ionize along predominantly diabatic paths for the range of N investigated. The electric field dependence of the ionization threshold has been determined to be in good agreement with that calculated from a simple model based on the energies and ionization rates of hydrogen. Collisions between highly excited rubidium atoms and neutral xenon atoms, which result in a change in the N and L of the excited state of the rubidium atom, have been investigated. The N of the final state has been shown to be limited to those states which lie closest in energy to the initial state, in good agreement with theory. The distribution of L of the final states has been shown to be completely statistical or biased towards production of high L. The distribution of final L is definitely not biased toward production of states with low values of L.