Limitations of the strong field approximation in ionization of the hydrogen atom by ultrashort pulses

D. G. Arbó, K. Tokési, J. E. Miraglia

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3 Citations (Scopus)


We present a theoretical study of the ionization of hydrogen atoms as a result of the interaction with an ultrashort external electric field. Doubly-differential momentum distributions and angular momentum distributions of ejected electrons calculated in the framework of the Coulomb-Volkov and strong field approximations, as well as classical calculations are compared with the exact solution of the time dependent Schr ödinger equation. We show that in the impulsive limit, the Coulomb-Volkov distorted wave theory reproduces the exact solution. The validity of the strong field approximation is probed both classically and quantum mechanically. We found that classical mechanics describes the proper quantum momentum distributions of the ejected electrons right after a sudden momentum transfer, however pronounced the differences at latter stages that arise during the subsequent electron-nucleus interaction. Although the classical calculations reproduce the quantum momentum distributions, it fails to describe properly the angular momentum distributions, even in the limit of strong fields. The origin of this failure can be attributed to the difference between quantum and classical initial spatial distributions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-312
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Physical Journal D
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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