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ZhETF, Vol. 135, No. 1, p. 24 (January 2009)
(English translation - JETP, Vol. 108, No. 1, p. 18, January 2009 available online at )

Kashtanov P.V., Myasnikov M.I., Smirnov B.M.

Received: June 19, 2008

PACS: 36.40.-c, 36.40.Sx, 61.43.Yv, 68.35.Bs

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The standard classical method of computer simulation is used for evaluation of the inelastic cross section in electron collisions with a highly excited (Rydberg) atom. In the course of collision, the incident and bound electrons move along classical trajectories in the Coulomb field of the nucleus, and the scattering parameters are averaged over many initial conditions. The reduced ionization cross section of a Rydberg atom by an electron impact approximately corresponds to that of atoms in the ground states with valence s-electrons and coincides with the results of the previous Monte Carlo calculations. The cross section of an atom transition between Rydberg atom states as a result of electron impact is used for finding the stepwise ionization rate constant of atoms in collisions with electrons or the rate constant of three-body electron-ion recombination in a dense ionized gas because these processes are determined by kinetics of highly excited atom states. Surprising, the limit of low electron temperatures is realized when the electron thermal energy is lower than the atom ionization potential by about three orders of magnitude, as follows from the kinetics of excited atom states.

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