Table of Contents
Laser Chemistry
Volume 11, Issue 3-4, Pages 191-198

Subthreshold Ionization of Weakly Bound Complexes: Stochastic Analysis of the Role of the Rydberg Quasicontinuum

1Dipartimento di Chimica dell'Universitá, Perugia 06100, Italy
2General Physics Institute, Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

Copyright © 1991 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Recent evidence for subthreshold ionization (i.e. electron loss at energies less than anticipated from vertical transitions assuming adiabatic separation of nuclear motion) points at the role of nonadiabatic coupling of high Rydberg terms of molecules. Sinai's billiard model for the chaotic motion of the Rydberg electron, that leads to a diffusion over the energy ladder as a result of electronic–vibrational exchange, is suggested as the classical mechanism of autoionization. A quantum expression for the branching ratio between autoionization and spontaneous fluorescence is obtained and discussed with reference to experimental results on associative ionization in atomic collisions and on laser ionization of van der Waals diatomics.