Light Scattering as a Probe for Atomic Interactions

  • Keith Burnett
Conference paper


In this talk we should like to describe some recent work on the scattering of light by atomic and molecular collisions.1–8 This work, in our opinion, offers the prospect of a rather direct technique for studying the mechanisms of heavy particle collisions and reactions. We should also like to show that knowledge of such mechanisms, as well as being interesting in its own right, has important consequences for the field of laser assisted and modified collisions. Let us consider to begin with a conventional atomic or molecular crossed beam experiment where, for the sake of discussion, we suppose that we can specify all the relevant ingoing states of the colliding partners: translational and internal energies, spin, etc. Let us suppose that we can also measure all the corresponding quantities for the final or product states. If we have a ground state to ground state scattering problem with a single open channel there are well-established inversion procedures.9 For a multichannel problem, i.e. one where several asymptotic states are accessible, inversion is rarely possible. It may, in some cases, be possible to calculate an “ab initio potential” and do full quantal calculations; more often, however, we are forced to consider models of the interaction between the collision partners and consider which model fits the data best. It would, of course, be most advantageous if we could obtain some information more directly about the collision complex rather than have to be content with asymptotic information which may not tie down the form of the potential very well.


Interatomic Potential Internuclear Separation Collision Complex Intense Laser Field Modify Collision 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith Burnett
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Joint Institute for Laboratory AstrophysicsUniversity of Colorado and National Bureau of StandardsBoulderUSA

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