Theoretical study of atomic processes and dynamics in ultracold plasmas
Balaraman, Gouthaman S.
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In the last decade, ultracold plasmas have been created in the laboratory by photo-ionizing laser-cooled atoms. To understand the overall dynamics of ultracold plasmas, one needs to understand Rydberg collisional processes at ultracold temperatures. The two kinds of problems addressed in this thesis are: study of Rydberg atomic processes at ultracold temperatures, and a study of the overall dynamics of the ultracold plasmas. Theoretical methods based on quantal-classical correspondence is used to understand Rydberg atomic processes such as radiative cascade, and radiative recombination. A simulation method suitable for ultracold collisions is developed and tested. This method is then applied to study collisional-Stark mixing in Rydberg atoms. To study the dynamics of the ultracold plasmas, a King model for the electrons in plasmas is proposed. The King model is a stationary, ﬁnite sized electron distribution for the electrons in a cloud of ﬁxed ions with a Gaussian distribution. A Monte-Carlo method is developed to simulate the overall dynamics of the King distribution.