Photoionization of an atom in the presence of a uniform static electric field provides the unique opportunity to expand and visualize the atomic wave function at a macroscopic scale. In a number of seminal publications dating back to the 1980s, Fabrikant, Demkov, Kondratovich, and Ostrovsky showed that this goal could be achieved by projecting slow (meV) photoionized electrons onto a position-sensitive detector and underlined the distinction between continuum and resonant contributions. The uncovering of resonant signatures was achieved fairly recently in experiments on the nonhydrogenic lithium atoms [Cohen, Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 183001 (2013)]10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.183001. The purpose of the present article is the general description of these findings, with emphasis on the various manifestations of resonant character. From this point of view, lithium has been chosen as an illustrative example between the two limiting cases of hydrogen, where resonance effects are more easily identified, and heavy atoms like xenon, where resonant effects were not observed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics