Absolute Cross Sections for the Ionization-Excitation of Helium by Electron Impact
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In a recent publication we presented detailed experimental and theoretical results for the electron-impact-induced ionization of ground-state helium atoms. The purpose of that work was to refine theoretical approaches and provide further insight into the Coulomb four-body problem. Cross section ratios were presented for transitions leading to excited states, relative to those leading to the ground state, of the helium ion. We now build on that study by presenting individual relative triple-differential ionization cross sections (TDCSs) for an additional body of experimental data measured at lower values of scattered-electron energies. This has been facilitated through the development of new electron-gun optics which enables us to accurately characterize the spectrometer transmission at low energies. The experimental results are compared to calculations resulting from a number of different approaches. For ionization leading to He+(1s2)1S, cross sections are calculated by the highly accurate convergent close-coupling (CCC) method. The CCC data are used to place the relative experimental data on to an absolute scale. TDCSs describing transitions to the excited states are calculated through three different approaches, namely, through a hybrid distorted-wave+R-matrix (close-coupling) model, through the recently developed four-body distorted-wave model, and by a first Born approximation calculation. Comparison of the first- and second-order theories with experiment allows for the accuracy of the different theoretical approaches to be assessed and gives insight into which physical aspects of the problem are most important to accurately model.