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Electron Correlation in the Ionization Continuum of Molecules: Photoionization of N2 in the Vicinity of the Hopfield Series of Autoionizing States

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Direct measurement of autoionization lifetimes by using time-resolved experimental techniques is a promising approach when energy-resolved spectroscopic methods do not work. Attosecond time-resolved experiments have recently provided the first quantitative determination of autoionization lifetimes of the lowest members of the well-known Hopfield series of resonances in N2. In this work, we have used the recently developed XCHEM approach to study photoionization of the N2 molecule in the vicinity of these resonances. The XCHEM approach allows us to describe electron correlation in the molecular electronic continuum at a level similar to that provided by multireference configuration interaction methods in bound state calculations, a necessary condition to accurately describe autoionization, shakeup, and interchannel couplings occurring in this range of photon energies. Our results show that electron correlation leading to interchannel mixing is the main factor that determines the magnitude and shape of the N2 photoionization cross sections, as well as the lifetimes of the Hopfield resonances. At variance with recent speculations, nonadiabatic effects do not seem to play a significant role. These conclusions are supported by the very good agreement between the calculated cross sections and those determined in synchrotron radiation and attosecond experiments.

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