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Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Jul 23;87(4):043003. Epub 2001 Jul 9.

Separation of recollision mechanisms in nonsequential strong field double ionization of Ar: the role of excitation tunneling.

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Universität Freiburg, Hermann-Herder-Strasse 3, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany.


Vector momentum distributions of two electrons created in double ionization of Ar by 25 fs, 0.25 PW/cm(2) laser pulses at 795 nm have been measured using a "reaction microscope." At this intensity, where nonsequential ionization dominates, distinct correlation patterns are observed in the two-electron momentum distributions. A kinematical analysis of these spectra within the classical "recollision model" revealed an (e,2e)-like process and excitation with subsequent tunneling of the second electron as two different ionization mechanisms. This allows a qualitative separation of the two mechanisms demonstrating that excitation-tunneling is the dominant contribution to the total double ionization yield.

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