Negative Ion Formation in Low-Energy Electron Collisions with the Actinide Atoms Th, Pa, U, Np and Pu
Applied Physics Research
Here we investigate ground and metastable negative ion formation in low-energy electron collisions with the actinide atoms Th, Pa, U, Np and Pu through the elastic total cross sections (TCSs) calculations. For these atoms, the presence of two or more open d- and f- subshell electrons presents a formidable computational task for conventional theoretical methods, making it difficult to interpret the calculated results. Our robust Regge pole methodology which embeds the crucial electron
... electron correlations and the vital core-polarization interaction is used for the calculations. These are the major physical effects mostly responsible for stable negative ion formation in low-energy electron scattering from complex heavy systems. We find that the TCSs are characterized generally by Ramsauer-Townsend minima, shape resonances and dramatically sharp resonances manifesting ground and metastable negative ion formation during the collisions. The extracted from the ground states TCSs anionic binding energies (BEs) are found to be 3.09eV, 2.98eV, 3.03eV, 3.06eV and 3.25eV for Th, Pa, U, Np and Pu, respectively. Interestingly, an additional polarization-induced metastable TCS with anionic BE value of 1.22eV is generated in Pu due to the size effect. We also found that our excited states anionic BEs for several of these atoms compare well with the existing theoretical electron affinities including those calculated using the relativistic configuration-interaction method. We conclude that the existing theoretical calculations tend to identify incorrectly the BEs of the resultant excited anionic states with the electron affinities of the investigated actinide atoms; this demonstrates the great need for experimental verification and unambiguous determination of their electron affinities.