Polarization Effects in Simultaneous Electron Photon Excitation

  • W. R. Newell
Part of the Physics of Atoms and Molecules book series (PAMO)


The influences of radiation fields on collision processes and interactions is quite universal since all scattering processes take place in radiation fields even if it is only the thermal background. In the present article we will be concerned with radiation fields produced by lasers and how the radiation and its polarization, through virtual interactions, influences the collision process. Electron-atom scattering in the presence of an external electromagnetic radiation field was initially studied by Goppert-Mayer (1931) in association with her theoretical work on two-photon excitation. However, it is only by combining the more recent developments of laser technology and the expertise of high-resolution electron scattering that an experimental study of the simultaneous interactions of photons and electrons with a discrete atom or molecule can be investigated. Such interactions are of practical importance in the heating of plasmas by radiation and laser-induced gas breakdown phenomena, in addition to being of fundamental interest in the understanding of three-body interactions and the relative coupling between radiation fields and particles.


Radiation Field Laser Field Excitation Cross Section Laser Polarisation Metastable Atom 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. R. Newell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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