Electronatom collision physics is important from the standpoints of both practical
applications and fundamental science. Such collisions play an important role in, for
example, astrophysical plasmas (planetary ionospheres, emission nebulae), fusion and
semiconductoretching plasmas, highdensity gas discharges (lighting and display
technology), electronbeam and dischargepumped lasers, radiation dosimetry detectors,
etc. On a fundamental level, although the basic interaction governing such collisions is
electromagnetic and wellunderstood, theoretical approaches must contend with
multielectron, atomic wave functions (the quantum "manybody problem") and involve the
solution of an infinite set of coupled differential equations of motion which must be
treated in some approximate fashion. Experiments, such as those conducted in our
laboratory, are essential to provide theorists with some "benchmark" data against which
their various models and approximations can be tested.
