Ionization of sodium and rubidium nS, nP, and nD Rydberg atoms by blackbody radiation

I. I. Beterov*, D. B. Tretyakov, I. I. Ryabtsev, A. Ekers, N. N. Bezuglov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Results of theoretical calculations of ionization rates of Rb and Na Rydberg atoms by blackbody radiation (BBR) are presented. Calculations have been performed for nS, nP, and nD states of Na and Rb, which are commonly used in a variety of experiments, at principal quantum numbers n=8-65 and at three ambient temperatures of 77, 300, and 600 K. A peculiarity of our calculations is that we take into account the contributions of BBR-induced redistribution of population between Rydberg states prior to photoionization and field ionization by extraction electric field pulses. The obtained results show that these phenomena affect both the magnitude of measured ionization rates and shapes of their dependences on n. The calculated ionization rates are compared with the results of our earlier measurements of BBR-induced ionization rates of Na nS and nD Rydberg states with n=8-20 at 300 K. A good agreement for all states except nS with n>15 is observed. We also present the useful analytical formulas for the quick estimation of BBR ionization rates of Rydberg atoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number052720
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 30 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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