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Physics  2013 

Atoms and Molecules in Intense Laser Fields: Gauge Invariance of Theory and Models

DOI: 10.1088/0953-4075/46/15/153001

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Abstract:

Gauge invariance was discovered in the development of classical electromagnetism and was required when the latter was formulated in terms of the scalar and vector potentials. It is now considered to be a fundamental principle of nature, stating that different forms of these potentials yield the same physical description: they describe the same electromagnetic field as long as they are related to each other by gauge transformations. Gauge invariance can also be included into the quantum description of matter interacting with an electromagnetic field by assuming that the wave function transforms under a given local unitary transformation. The result of this procedure is a quantum theory describing the coupling of electrons, nuclei and photons. Therefore, it is a very important concept: it is used in almost every fields of physics and it has been generalized to describe electroweak and strong interactions in the standard model of particles. A review of quantum mechanical gauge invariance and general unitary transformations is presented for atoms and molecules in interaction with intense short laser pulses, spanning the perturbative to highly nonlinear nonperturbative interaction regimes. Various unitary transformations for single spinless particle Time Dependent Schr\"odinger Equations, TDSE, are shown to correspond to different time-dependent Hamiltonians and wave functions. Accuracy of approximation methods involved in solutions of TDSE's such as perturbation theory and popular numerical methods depend on gauge or representation choices which can be more convenient due to faster convergence criteria. We focus on three main representations: length and velocity gauges, in addition to the acceleration form which is not a gauge, to describe perturbative and nonperturbative radiative interactions. Numerical schemes for solving TDSE's in different representations are also discussed.

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