Publication Date

7-2009

Advisor(s)

Thomas J. Morgan

Department

Physics

Language

English

Abstract

The dynamics of an electron is always fascinating to understand and more research is being done on this subject as the dynamics of an electron is very vital in the fields of condensed matter physics and atomic and molecular physics. Quantum mechanics is used to study the dynamics of such systems but getting the entire solution can be quite complicated. The Morgan’s Lab basically wants to probe the dynamics of an atom / molecule using Semi-Classical approach, experimentally. Given the fact that the quantum theory for the dynamics is complex and obscure, we wanted to get the classical picture so that we can gain insight into the dynamics and predict that the semi - classical method is a useful approach.

The experimental setup at Morgan’s Lab is designed to generate a neutral atomic or molecular beam, which is then excited with a finely tuned laser to Rydberg states; the highest quantized energy states the electron can be in before ionization. By utilizing the tunable laser we can generate absorption spectra of these Rydberg atoms and molecules. Hidden within these spectra are the quantum and classical dynamics of the electron. This study of Rydberg’s electron dynamics will play a vital role in the analysis and testing of models like semi-classical and quantum theory. This is due to the fact that the Rydberg electron spends very little time near the core of the atom and mostly is present far away from the core, where we can neglect the perturbations of the core. As a result we need not explicitly integrate the motion of the core electrons but rather can treat them as perturbations. The dynamics of such an electron will add proof for existing atomic theories and also find applications in condensed matter physics.

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