Outline of the paths of ionization
Figure 1. Outline of the paths of ionization. Note that for each transition channel, there are manifolds of fine structure states which have been accounted for in the calculation but are too many to be included in the figure.
We present calculations on the multiple ionization of argon at the photon energy 123 eV and pulse duration 50 fs. At that photon energy, it is possible to drive the two-photon resonant Auger transition 2p → 4p, whose lifetime is 5.5 fs, much shorter than the pulse duration. The excitation of a 2p electron to the 4p state thus creates a hole which decays by an Auger process. We have also included above-threshold ionization from the outer shells of the neutral and singly ionized species, which becomes significant at intensities of the order of ~1015 W cm−2 and higher. The populations of the various ionic species were obtained through the solution of the kinetic equations governing their production and decay during the pulse. The effect of the intensity distribution in the interaction volume has also been evaluated. We have further shown that doubly hollow ionic states of the type 3s03pn with 2 ≤ n ≤ 6 are created, which can decay only via spontaneous emission, with lifetimes orders of magnitude longer than the pulse duration. These hollow-ion states can potentially serve as a starting point for a variety of experimental investigations on doubly excited states.