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Chin. Phys. B, 2023, Vol. 32(6): 063402    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/acbe33
Special Issue: SPECIAL TOPIC — Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Physics Discipline of Xiamen University
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Fragmentation dynamics of electron-impact double ionization of helium

Shiwei Liu(刘士炜)1, Difa Ye(叶地发)1,2,†, and Jie Liu(刘杰)3,4,‡
1 Beijing Computational Science Research Center, Beijing 100193, China;
2 Laboratory of Computational Physics, Institute of Applied Physics and Computational Mathematics, Beijing 100088, China;
3 Graduate School, China Academy of Engineering Physics, Beijing 100193, China;
4 HEDPS, Center for Applied Physics and Technology, and College of Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Abstract  We study the double ionization dynamics of a helium atom impacted by electrons with full-dimensional classical trajectory Monte Carlo simulation. The excess energy is chosen to cover a wide range of values from 5 eV to 1 keV for comparative study. At the lowest excess energy, i.e., close to the double-ionization threshold, it is found that the projectile momentum is totally transferred to the recoil-ion while the residual energy is randomly partitioned among the three outgoing electrons, which are then most probably emitted with an equilateral triangle configuration. Our results agree well with experiments as compared with early quantum-mechanical calculation as well as classical simulation based on a two-dimensional Bohr's model. Furthermore, by mapping the final momentum vectors event by event into a Dalitz plot, we unambiguously demonstrate that the ergodicity has been reached and thus confirm a long-term scenario conceived by Wannier. The time scale for such few-body thermalization, from the initial nonequilibrium state to the final microcanonical distribution, is only about 100 attoseconds. Finally, we predict that, with the increase of the excess energy, the dominant emission configuration undergoes a transition from equilateral triangle to T-shape and finally to a co-linear mode. The associated signatures of such configuration transition in the electron-ion joint momentum spectrum and triple-electron angular distribution are also demonstrated.
Keywords:  double ionization      classical trajectory Monte Carlo simulation      Wannier threshold law      ergodicity  
Received:  11 January 2023      Revised:  05 February 2023      Accepted manuscript online:  23 February 2023
PACS:  34.10.+x (General theories and models of atomic and molecular collisions and interactions (including statistical theories, transition state, stochastic and trajectory models, etc.))  
  34.80.-i (Electron and positron scattering)  
  34.50.Fa (Electronic excitation and ionization of atoms (including beam-foil excitation and ionization))  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 12174034, 12047510, and 11822401) and NSAF (Grant Nos. U1930402 and U1930403).
Corresponding Authors:  Difa Ye, Jie Liu     E-mail:;

Cite this article: 

Shiwei Liu(刘士炜), Difa Ye(叶地发), and Jie Liu(刘杰) Fragmentation dynamics of electron-impact double ionization of helium 2023 Chin. Phys. B 32 063402

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