Strong-field ionization of Rydberg atoms is investigated in its dependence on
phase features of the initial coherent population of Rydberg levels. In the case
of a resonance between Rydberg levels and some lower-energy atomic level
(V-type transitions), this dependence is shown to be very
strong: by a proper choice of the initial population an atom can be made either
completely or very little ionized by a strong laser pulse. It is shown that
phase features of the initial coherent population of Rydberg levels and the
ionization yield can be efficiently controlled in a scheme of ionization by two
strong laser pulses with a varying delay time between them.
© 2000 Optical Society of America
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