STATE-CHANGING COLLISIONS OF RUBIDIUM (N)S RYDBERG ATOMS WITH HYDROGEN-FLUORIDE (L-MIXING, IONIZATION, N-CHANGING)
GOELLER, LAWRENCE NELSON
Doctor of Philosophy
State-changing in collisions of Rb(nS) - HF are studied using a crossed atomic beam/modulated CW laser technique and selective field ionization for values of principal quantum number n where 40 (LESSTHEQ) n (LESSTHEQ) 49. Collisions between a rotating polar molecule and a Rydberg atom often result in a near-resonant interchange of the rotational energy of the molecule, and a corresponding change in the electronic energy of the atom. A critical parameter is the energy imbalance of the reaction, defined as the difference between the atom's initial and final electronic energy and the molecule's initial and final rotational energy. The molecule used in this experiment, hydrogen fluoride, has a large rotational constant which permits study of n-changing rate constants for transitions from an initially populated s-state to a single n-manifold of high-L states. Because only one final manifold is populated, the reaction involves a single energy imbalance, and thus proves a useful test of theoretical models. n-Changing rate constants for collisions with energy imbalances ranging from 0.057 cm('-1) to 3.447 cm('-1), and ionization and L-mixing rate constants are compared to those predicted by an impulse approximation model and a semiclassical approach.