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Radiative Decay of the Metastable States of the H and He Sequences — Theory

  • Gordon W. F. Drake
Conference paper

Abstract

The 2s 2S1/2 state of hydrogen and the ls2s 3S1 and 1SO states of helium are said to be metastable because angular momentum and parity selection rules prevent the usual electric dipole transitions to lower states. However the metastable atoms, if left to themselves, will eventually decay through some higher order radiative process. Recent developments in both the theory and the experimental techniques used to measure the metastable lifetimes have made possible several new high precision comparisons between the predicted and measured decay rates. In addition to their fundamental interest, the results have important applications under the low density conditions found for example in planetary nebulae. This paper reviews the theory describing the spontaneous radiative decay of the metastable states and the effects induced by a perturbing electric field.

Keywords

Decay Rate Metastable State Radiative Decay Lamb Shift Isoelectronic Sequence 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon W. F. Drake
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of WindsorWindsor 11Canada

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