Fine structures in the intensity dependence of excitation and ionization probabilities of hydrogen atoms in intense 800-nm laser pulses


We studied the elementary processes of excitation and ionization of atomic hydrogen in an intense 800-nm pulse with intensity in the 1.0 to 2.5×1014 W/cm2 range. By analyzing excitation as a continuation of above-threshold ionization (ATI) into the below-threshold negative energy region, we show that modulation of excitation probability and the well-known shift of low-energy ATI peaks vs laser intensity share the same origin. Modulation of excitation probability is a general strong field phenomenon and is shown to be a consequence of channel closing in multiphoton ionization processes. Furthermore, the excited states populated in general have large orbital angular momentum and they are stable against ionization by the intense 800-nm laser—they are the underlying reason for population trapping of atoms and molecules in intense laser fields.