Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


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Published in PHYSICAL REVIEW A 84, 043409 (2011); DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.84.043409 Copyright ©2011 American Physical Society. Used by permission.


Ab initio calculations of two-photon double ionization of helium with photon energies varying from the nonsequential regime to well above the double-ionization threshold are presented. A systematic study of the joint angular distributions of the two ionized electrons at different energy sharing shows that the role of electron correlations is imprinted in the joint angular distribution. In particular, a rather general pattern is identified in the nonsequential regime that is independent of photon energy, pulse length, and energy sharing between the two electrons. Interestingly, the same distribution pattern is found for the equal-energy-sharing case, even when the photon energy is well above the double-ionization threshold. In the case of an extremely uneven energy sharing, the distribution pattern changes drastically as the photon energy is increased. In particular, when the photon energy is greater than the second-ionization threshold, the dominant emission mode of the two electrons switches gradually from “back to back” to “side by side.” Finally, the joint angular distribution is found to provide clear evidence of the role of electron correlations in the initial state.

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