Abstract

Two independently tunable, linearly polarized dye lasers have been used to study multiphoton ionization of gaseous xenon. One laser is tuned near three-photon resonance with the allowed 6s[3/2]J=1° resonance, which is not observed with one laser at these pressures because of the destructive interference between the three-photon-excitation and third-harmonic-excitation pathways to the 6s[3/2]J=1° state. The second laser is tuned to resonance with higher allowed np and np′ states of xenon. The missing ionization signal is seen to be dramatically restored by the addition of the second laser beam; however, the signal again disappears as the pressure is increased. These results are discussed in relation to recent experimental and theoretical studies of cancellation effects between three-photon excitation and third-harmonic generation. Spectroscopic information obtained from tuning each dye laser, together with data on the angular distributions resulting from rotating the plane of polarization of one laser relative to that of the second laser, clearly shows that two different ionization mechanisms are operative. In addition, these experiments unambiguously illustrate the importance of dissociative ionization of quasi-dimers of xenon over a rather broad frequency range.

© 1985 Optical Society of America

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