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Electron impact excitation of 2p states in atomic hydrogen

Gradziel, Marcin Lukasz (2003) Electron impact excitation of 2p states in atomic hydrogen. PhD thesis, NUI Maynooth.

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Abstract

This thesis presents the results of experimental investigation of coherence in the excitation of the 2p states of atomic hydrogen through a collision with an unpolarised electron. The polarisation correlation variation of the delayed coincidence method has been employed to simultaneously measure the reduced Stokes parameters P1,P2 and P3, which are needed to fully characterise the state of the atom immediately after the collision. This has also allowed the excitation coherence parameter P+ to be determined directly. In the case of the excitation of 2p states of hydrogen, a deviation of P+ from unity is indicative of the importance of spin exchange during the collision. A new Lyman- polarisation analyser, that permits independent rotation of a retarder and a linear polariser, was developed for this work. A novel approach to the analysis of data from electron-photon coincidence measurements has been implemented to improve the quality of the final results. The reduced Stokes parameters P1,P2 and P3 were measured at 54.4 eV electron energy, and in the 4-40 range of electron scattering angles. The P1 and P2 results are consistent with the earlier measurements, and recent theoretical predictions. The new P3 results, however, deviate significantly from the predictions of all modern theories, and also differ from previous experimental results. The newly measured values of P+ also suggest less coherent excitation than predicted by the theory, even at a relatively low scattering angle of 30. Several possible sources of systematic error including resonance radiation trapping, Stark mixing and erroneous phase-shift of the retarder have been considered, but are insufficient to explain the observed deviations from theory. Therefore, we are forced to conclude that spin exchange may play a more significant role during the collision than current theoretical methods predict.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: electron-atom scattering, hydrogen, polarisation correlation, polarisation measurement, vacuum ultraviolet, coherence measurement, electron impact excitation, reduced Stokes parameters, coincidence measurements, coincidence spectrum modelling, coincidence spectrum fitting
Subjects: Science & Engineering > Experimental Physics
Item ID: 120
Depositing User: Dr. Marcin Lukasz Gradziel
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2007
Refereed: Yes
URI:

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