Relativistic (Zα)2 Corrections and Leading Quantum Electrodynamic Corrections to the Two-Photon Decay Rate of Ionic States

Benedikt J. Wundt
Ulrich D. Jentschura, Missouri University of Science and Technology

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We calculate the relativistic corrections of relative order (Zα) 2 to the two-photon decay rate of higher excited S and D states in ionic atomic systems, and we also evaluate the leading radiative corrections of relative order α (Zα) 2 ln [(Zα) -2]. We thus complete the theory of the two-photon decay rates up to relative order α3 ln (α). An approach inspired by nonrelativistic quantum electrodynamics is used. We find that the corrections of relative order (Zα) 2 to the two-photon decay are given by the Zitterbewegung, by the spin-orbit coupling and by relativistic corrections to the electron mass, and by quadrupole interactions. We show that all corrections are separately gauge invariant with respect to a "hybrid" transformation from velocity to length gauge, where the gauge transformation of the wave function is neglected. The corrections are evaluated for the two-photon decay from 2S, 3S, 3D, and 4S states in one-electron (hydrogenlike) systems, with 1S and 2S final states.