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Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2007 Sep 7;9(33):4639-52. Epub 2007 Jul 13.

Charging of metal clusters in helium droplets exposed to intense femtosecond laser pulses.

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Institut für Physik, Universität Rostock, Universitätsplatz 3, 18051, Rostock, Germany.


We review the strong field (10(13)-10(16) W cm(-2)) laser excitation of metal clusters (Cd(N), Ag(N) and Pb(N)) embedded in He nanodroplets. Plasmon enhanced ionization obtained by stretching the laser pulses to several hundreds of femtoseconds or by using dual pulses with a suitable optical delay leads to a Coulomb explosion of highly charged atomic ions. The charging dynamics can be well described by corresponding semiclassical Vlasov simulations. The influence of the He environment on the ionization process and on the final charge distribution is discussed. Evidence is found that He(2+) is generated in collisions with highly charged metal ions. In contrast, singly and doubly charged ions with low recoil energies induce the formation of He snowballs with a distinct shell structure around the ion. Laser intensity thresholds for snowball formation and for the ionization of clusters are investigated by applying intensity selective scanning.


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