Time-resolved measurements of atomic observables are analyzed using a Liouville space formulation and a Hermitian unit tensor base. This approach makes it possible to distinguish cleanly the symmetries of a formation and/or excitation process completed by time t=0, a time evolution under experimental control between t=0 and t=t, and a measurement at t=t, even for hydrogenic observables. Each observable is labeled by a time-reversal quantum number, allowing exploration for the first time of the close relationship between time-reversal symmetry and the time evolution of atomic observables. The experimental reconstruction of atomic observables (at t=0) from subsequent time-resolved measurements of the anisotropy and polarization of emitted electric dipole photons is discussed. Hydrogenic observables are stressed and the use of strong fields is included, thus generalizing Fano and Macek's approach.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics