Helium ionization

  • Thread starter Mokdad
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Can we ionize the helium atom at once? ie the two electrons simultaneously and not one after another. If yes, what is the ionization energy in this case?
 

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  • #2
alxm
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By 'at once' you mean with a single photon? I'd say no. It's never been done, for sure.

I wouldn't say it's absolutely impossible; there's probably some extremely-unlikely mechanism by which it might be able to occur by transferring momentum back-and-forth. (e.g. single-electron ionization followed by that electron falling back to the atom (somehow) and scattering while ionizing the second electron. Something like that.) But not directly, no.
 
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  • #3
Drakkith
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I'd venture a guess saying that it is possible to ionize both electrons so close together that for all practical purposes you could say that it was at the same time. I don't believe the ionization energy would increase, but I can't say for sure.
 

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