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Evidence for a T-Shape Break-Up Pattern in the Triple Photoionization of Li

11 February 2013


J. Colgan, A. Emmanouilidou, M. S. Pindzola

Evidence for a T-Shape Break-Up Pattern in the Triple Photoionization of Li

Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 063001 (2013)

According to Wannier's law, when a single photon is absorbed with energy just above the fragmentation threshold, the electrons in a multi-electron atom break-up in the most symmetric way.

Wannier predicted that three electrons escape on the apexes of an equilateral triangle. The general expectation is that this break-up pattern holds also a few eV above threshold. Contrary to common belief, Dr. A. Emmanouilidou and collaborators predicted in 2006 that the break-up pattern of the three escaping electrons from the ground state of Lithium is a T-shape: two electrons escape back-to-back and the third electron escapes perpendicular to them.

The T-shape was recently verified, Phys. Rev. Lett 110, 063001 (2013), by Dr. J. Colgan and Dr. A. Emmanouilidou in single photo-ionization of Li at 5 eV excess energy using the quantum mechanical time-dependent close-coupling method.

The figures below show that by fixing one inter-electronic angle to be 90 degrees, the other two inter-electronic angles are found to be 90 or 180 degrees, i.e. the three-electrons form a T-shape. This additional evidence for a T-shape may change our understanding of correlated electron-electron dynamics close to threshold.

Evidence for a T-Shape Break-Up Pattern in the Triple Photoionization of Li