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Recombination and population inversion in plasmas generated by tunneling ionization

Pert, G.J. (2006) Recombination and population inversion in plasmas generated by tunneling ionization. Physical Review E, 73 (6). 066401-1. ISSN 1550-2376

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Above-threshold ionization (ATI) ionization by linearly polarized light has been proposed by several authors as a means of driving recombination lasers in the soft x-ray spectral region. The pump radiation generates a cold electron plasma with ions in a single ionization stage, which is an ideal starting condition for strong recombination. Population inversions form during the recombination cascade to the ground state of the next ionization stage. In the absence of any relaxation the electron distribution is strongly peaked near zero energy. However, a number of different processes all heat the cold electrons towards Maxwellian, and may thereby reduce the recombination rate in the higher levels. Using numerical models we investigate these relaxation processes and their effect on recombination. We show that the recombination can be well described by the standard cascade model, provided an appropriate temperature is used. We examine two cases in detail, hydrogen-like lithium where the inversion is with respect to the ground state, and lithium-like nitrogen where it is with the first excited state. The two cases differ markedly in the degree of relaxation achieved, and in the duration of the population inversion.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: population inversion, plasma production by laser, tunnelling, ionisation, plasma collision processes, ground states, excited states
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Physics (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2009 15:20
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2009 15:20
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.73.066401
Status: Published
Publisher: The American Physical Society.
Identification Number: 10.1103/PhysRevE.73.066401
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7301

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