Pressure shifts inside an atomic beam are among the more theoretically challenging effects in high-precision measurements of atomic transitions. A crucial element in their theoretical analysis is the understanding of long-range interatomic interactions inside the beam. For excited reference states, the presence of quasi-degenerate states leads to additional challenges, due to the necessity to diagonalize large matrices in the quasi-degenerate hyperfine manifolds. Here, we focus on the interactions of hydrogen atoms in reference states composed of an excited nD state (atom A), and in the metastable 2S state (atom B). We devote special attention to the cases n = 3 and n = 8. For n = 3, the main effect is generated by quasi-degenerate virtual P states from both atoms A and B and leads to experimentally relevant second-order long-range (van-der-Waals) interactions proportional to the sixth inverse power of the interatomic distance. For n = 8, in addition to virtual states with two states of P symmetry, one needs to take into account combined virtual P and F states from atoms A and B. The numerical value of the so-called C6 coefficients multiplying the interaction energy was found to grow with the principal quantum number of the reference D state; it was found to be of the order of 1011 in atomic units. The result allows for the calculation of the pressure shift inside atomic beams while driving transitions to nD states.




National Science Foundation, Grant 2110294

Keywords and Phrases

Fine-structure-hyperfine structure mixing; Perturbation theory; Quasi-degenerate states; Van der Waals interaction

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Mar 2022

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