Abstract

This paper presents a review of the main results of studies of the interaction of powerful laser radiation with atomic systems, carried out by the staff of the scientific school of A. M. Bonch-Bruevich in the period 1964-2003. The review reflects the development stages of the studies and the main achievements, as follows: The action of powerful monochromatic and noisy optical radiation fields on the energy structure and transition probabilities of atoms has been studied experimentally and theoretically; negative absorption has been obtained for the first time in two-level systems without population inversion; multiphoton parametric processes leading to a change of the angular and spectral characteristics of the radiation transmitted through the atmospheric medium have been investigated (the studies of four-wave mixing were pioneering in this case); distinctive nonlinear optical processes in systems of colliding atoms, in particular the phenomenon of "optical impact," were predicted and were observed for the first time; nonlinearity that caused bleaching of the medium without saturating it was detected in these systems; changes in the energy and spectral characteristics of atoms of the alkali metals when they interact with the surface of solids were detected; photodesorption of atoms from the surface was detected, and a phenomenological theory of this process was created; the quenching of excited atoms when they strike the surface of a solid was investigated, and the energy and kinetic characteristics of impacts of the second kind were measured; the phenomenon of photoatomic emission from metals under the action of optical radiation was detected, and the role of structural defects of the surface of metals in this process was pointed out. Results are presented for the developed and verified optical method of fluctuation microscopy, intended for measurements of the geometrical parameters of metallic island films of nanometer size.

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