Atoms in External Fields
The study of atoms in externally applied fields has progressed rapidly, experimentally and theoretically, in the last few years. (For a review up to 1984 see Clark et al. (1984); recent advances are documented in “Collisions and spectra in external fields II”, Taylor et al. (1988).) We emphasise at the outset, that the imposition of an external field on an atom is not just a further complication to the already difficult zero-field problem. On the contrary the analysis of the motion of an electron in such fields serves as a simple physical prototype for problems where forces with disparate symmetries, e.g. spherical and cylindrical, combine and compete. The escape of two electrons from an atom near the double ionisation threshold is a more complicated example of such a problem (Fano (1983)). The insight gained from the study of atoms in fields should therefore be of more general significance.
KeywordsManifold Barium Strontium Tate Dinates
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