Field-Ionization processes in excited atoms

Michael G. Littman, Michael M. Kash, Daniel Kleppner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


We identify two different processes by which free atoms are ionized in a static electric field. The first process is by tunneling and is described accurately by theory developed for hydrogen. The second process, important for all atoms except hydrogen, is similar to autoionization and arises from the effect of level mixing. Data are presented on field ionization in lithium which display behavior due to each of these ionization mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-107
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1978
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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