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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The role of Rydberg and continuum levels in computing high harmonic generation spectra of the hydrogen atom using time-dependent configuration interaction

  • Author(s): Luppi, E
  • Head-Gordon, M
  • et al.

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We study the role of Rydberg bound-states and continuum levels in the field-induced electronic dynamics associated with the High-Harmonic Generation (HHG) spectroscopy of the hydrogen atom. Time-dependent configuration- interaction (TD-CI) is used with very large atomic orbital (AO) expansions (up to L = 4 with sextuple augmentation and off-center functions) to describe the bound Rydberg levels, and some continuum levels. To address the lack of ionization losses in TD-CI with finite AO basis sets, we employed a heuristic lifetime for energy levels above the ionization potential. The heuristic lifetime model is compared against the conventional atomic orbital treatment (infinite lifetimes), and a third approximation which is TD-CI using only the bound levels (continuum lifetimes go to zero). The results suggest that spectra calculated using conventional TD-CI do not converge with increasing AO basis set size, while the zero lifetime and heuristic lifetime models converge to qualitatively similar spectra, with implications for how best to apply bound state electronic structure methods to simulate HHG. The origin of HHG spectral features including the cutoff and extent of interference between peaks is uncovered by separating field-induced coupling between different types of levels (ground state, bound Rydberg levels, and continuum) in the simulated electronic dynamics. Thus the origin of deviations between the predictions of the semi-classical three step model and the full simulation can be associated with particular physical contributions, which helps to explain both the successes and the limitations of the three step model. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.

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