Electron and photon interactions in magnesium, calcium and rubidium

  • James Pursehouse

Student thesis: Phd


In the experiments detailed in this thesis, a series of scattering experiments were conducted in a versatile scattering chamber. In order to conduct these experiments, various electronic equipment was designed and built, including new computer controlled electron analyser power supplies. This new equipment was tested, adopted in this work, and is described in this thesis. The superelastic scattering technique was used on magnesium atoms to obtain a set of atomic collision parameters (ACPs), which describe the interaction. This was achieved by exciting a beam of magnesium atoms to the 3(1)P(1) excited state using resonant laser radiation around 285 nm, and using an electron beam with well defined momentum to de-excite the atoms. The momentum of the outgoing electrons was measured as the polarisation and scattering angle were varied, to obtain the ACPs. These measurements were carried out over an angular range of 30 degrees to 120 degrees and with incident energies equivalent to 35 eV, 40 eV, 45 eV, and 55 eV. A set of theoretical data was compared to the experimental results and found to be reasonably accurate at describing the interaction. Laser-aligned and ground-state (e,2e) ionisation measurements were taken from the 4(1)S(0) and 4(1)P(1) states of calcium. The measurements were taken with the energy of the scattered and ejected electrons set at 30 eV, and with one outgoing electron angle set to 45 degrees. The differential cross section was determined for a range of angles of the second electron, ranging from 30 degrees to 65 degrees. The incident and outgoing electron momenta were all defined in the same plane with the laser polarisation being in a plane perpendicular to the incident electron. The laser aligned (e,2e) measurements were compared to two theoretical models, one of which (a 3DW model) predicted an identically zero cross section when the laser polarisation was perpendicular to the scattering plane. The other model (a TDCC model) predicted a non-zero cross section, in agreement with the experiment. Simultaneous time-resolved two-colour photoionisation from the 5(2)P(3/2) and 6(2)P(3/2) states of rubidium was also conducted. These experiments investigated two pathways to creating 0.36 eV photoelectrons from rubidium. Photoelectrons were produced by either using laser radiation at ~780 nm to resonantly excite atoms to the 5(2)P(3/2) state followed by laser radiation at ~420 nm to ionise the atoms, or laser radiation at ~420 nm was used to resonantly excite atoms to the 6(2)P(3/2) state followed by radiation at ~780 nm which then ionised the atoms. Ionisation differential cross sections were measured over a full 360 degrees by rotating the laser polarisation vectors. By selectively detuning the laser beam so as to select individual ionisation pathways, and then by tuning both lasers to resonance, quantum interferences between the pathways that lead to ionisation were observed.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAndrew Murray (Supervisor) & Jonathan Billowes (Supervisor)


  • (e,2e)
  • scattering
  • quantum
  • interferance
  • superelastic
  • ionisation
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • photon
  • Electron
  • rubidium

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