Abstract

It has been shown that a dense (>1014-cm−3) atomic vapor, irradiated by a saturating pulse of resonance radiation, will ionize on a time scale of <10−6 sec. The ionization can be 95% complete and has been observed in Li, Na, Ca, Sr, and Ba. A large number of physical processes contribute to the ionization with different processes dominating at different stages in the ionization. These processes are discussed, and two models for calculating the ionization are described. The results of the various experiments and the applications to the spectroscopy of ions and to atomic physics studies in general are reviewed.

© 1980 Optical Society of America

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