, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 29-37
Date: 13 Apr 2010

Effect of a magnetic field in photodetachment microscopy

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Abstract

The effect of an external static magnetic field of arbitrary orientation with respect to the electric field, on the electron interference ring patterns observed by the photodetachment microscope is studied both experimentally and theoretically. The design of the interaction chamber has been modified to superimpose a controlled uniform magnetic field on the whole volume accessible to the interfering electron. Contrary to a previous study in weaker fields, where the overall dimension of the interferogram was not modified, the effect of the magnetic field here encompasses a regime of magnetic refocusing. A quantitative analysis is carried out using a closed-orbit perturbative calculation of the interference phase at the centre of the ring pattern. The essential result of this work is still the invariance of the extreme interference phase whatever the direction and magnitude of the applied magnetic field, up to values 100 times larger than in the previous experimental study. This property can be applied to revise former electron affinity measurements. Partly due to the previously unsuspected robustness of the electron interferograms vs. magnetic fields, partly thanks to the 2006 CODATA revision of the energy conversion factors, one can update the values of the electron affinities of 16O, 28Si and 32S to 1.4611134(9), 1.3895210(7) and 2.0771040(6) eV respectively.