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Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Nov 12;93(20):203402. Epub 2004 Nov 11.

Dynamic polarization in the strong-field ionization of small metal clusters.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


We report on the strong field ionization of small transition metal clusters (nickel, Ni(n) n=1-36) within the quasistatic regime at an infrared wavelength of 1.5 microm and at intensities up to 2 x 10(14) W/cm(2). From ion yields in a constant axial intensity beam, we obtained saturation intensities for the individual Ni(n) clusters. As compared to quasistatic, single active electron calculations, a dramatic suppression of ionization was observed. Dynamic polarization in the laser field likely leads to strong multielectron screening of the "active" electron. Representing the metal clusters as classical conducting spheres, we obtained, via a barrier suppression calculation, the classical ionization rates. Agreement was obtained for larger clusters with n>10 when the dynamic polarization was taken into account, emphasizing the multielectron nature of the ionization suppression.

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