Collision photography: Imaging of ultrafast atomic processes
Institut für Atom- und Molekülphysik,
Universität Hannover 30167 Hannover, Germany
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik - 85748 Garching, Germany
Accepted: 29 January 2002
We study the laser excitation of atomic collision pairs in a differential scattering experiment. The interference structure in the differential cross-section is resolved and shows a considerable variation with the linear polarization of the laser light. A systematic analysis allows the accurate determination of the Condon vectors characterizing the optical transition. The method is thus capable to directly visualize geometric aspects of the collision event, very much like an everyday photography.
PACS: 34.50.Rk – Laser-modified scattering and reactions / 32.80.Qk – Coherent control of atomic interactions with photons / 39.20.+q – Atom interferometry techniques
© EDP Sciences, 2002