We consider the excitation dynamics of the two-photon 1S - 2S transition in a beam of atomic hydrogen by 243 nm laser radiation. Specifically, we study the impact of ionization damping on the transition line shape, caused by the possibility of ionization of the 2S level by the same laser field. Using a Monte Carlo simulation, we calculate the line shape of the 1S - 2S transition for the experimental geometry used in the two latest absolute frequency measurements [M. Niering, Phys. Rev. Lett. 84, 5496 (2000) and M. Fischer, Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 230802 (2004)]. The calculated line shift and linewidth are in excellent agreement with the experimentally observed values. From this comparison we can verify the values of the dynamic Stark shift coefficient for the 1S - 2S transition for the first time on a level of 15%. We show that the ionization modifies the velocity distribution of the metastable atoms, the line shape of the 1S - 2S transition, and has an influence on the derivation of its absolute frequency.



Keywords and Phrases

Computer Simulation; Hydrogen; Monte Carlo Methods; Photoionization; Photons; Atomic Hydrogen; Ionization Damping; Laser Radiation; Transition Line; Atomic Physics

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Article - Journal

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