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Published March 1, 1988 | public
Journal Article Open

Atomic response to strong laser pulses


We formulate a semiclassical model for the collective response of an atom to a strong laser pulse and use it to study the behavior of the valence shell of xenon. We find that, in a monochromatic wave, a fraction of the shell ionizes rapidly and the rest is driven coherently. The energy distributions of the emitted electrons show reasonable agreement with experimental distributions that are generated via single-particle ionization, indicating that the spectra are independent of the ionization dynamics. The remaining part of the shell is driven coherently and expands with time, thus exerting minimal effect on the core. We also analyze the effects of pulse shape, pulse duration, and the ponderomotive potential. In particular, we present results for femtosecond pulses.

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©1988 The American Physical Society Received 28 August 1987 We acknoweledge an allocation of computer time from the San Diego Supercomputer Center on their Cray X/MP-48, on which most of these calculations were performed. D.A.W. acknowledges financial support from AT&T Bell Laboratories. This work was also supported by NSF Grant Nos. PHY85-05682 and PHY86-04197.


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