Theory of dissociative tunneling ionization


We present a theoretical study of the dissociative tunneling ionization process. Analytic expressions for the nuclear kinetic energy distribution of the ionization rates are derived. A particularly simple expression for the spectrum is found by using the Born-Oppenheimer (BO) approximation in conjunction with the reflection principle. These spectra are compared to exact non-BO ab initio spectra obtained through model calculations with a quantum mechanical treatment of both the electronic and nuclear degrees of freedom. In the regime where the BO approximation is applicable, imaging of the BO nuclear wave function is demonstrated to be possible through reverse use of the reflection principle, when accounting appropriately for the electronic ionization rate. A qualitative difference between the exact and BO wave functions in the asymptotic region of large electronic distances is shown. Additionally, the behavior of the wave function across the turning line is seen to be reminiscent of light refraction. For weak fields, where the BO approximation does not apply, the weak-field asymptotic theory describes the spectrum accurately.

Physical Review A
Siegert states