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Electron-electron dynamics in laser-induced nonsequential double ionization.

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>16/04/2004
<mark>Journal</mark>Physical review a
Issue number4
Volume69
Pages (from-to)043405
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

For the description of nonsequential double ionization (NSDI) of rare-gas atoms by a strong linearly polarized laser field, the quantum-mechanical S-matrix diagram that incorporates rescattering impact ionization is evaluated in the strong-field approximation. We employ a uniform approximation, which is a generalization of the standard saddle-point approximation. We systematically analyze the manifestations of the electron-electron interaction in the momentum distributions of the ejected electrons: for the interaction, by which the returning electron frees the bound electron, we adopt either a (three-body) contact interaction or a Coulomb interaction, and we do or do not incorporate the mutual Coulomb repulsion of the two electrons in their final state. In particular, we investigate the correlation of the momentum components parallel to the laser-field polarization, with the transverse momentum components either restricted to certain finite ranges or entirely summed over. In the latter case, agreement with experimental data is best for the contact interaction and without final-state repulsion. In the former, if the transverse momenta are restricted to small values, comparison of theory with the data shows evidence of Coulomb effects. We propose that experimental data selecting events with small transverse momenta of both electrons are particularly promising in the elucidation of the dynamics of NSDI. Also, a classical approximation of the quantum-mechanical S matrix is formulated and shown to work very well inside the classically allowed region.