Observation of a 1/t decay law for hot clusters and molecules in a storage ring
Hansen, K.; Andersen, J.U.; Hvelplund, P.; Møller, S.P.; Pedersen, U.V.; Petrunin, V.V.
Physical Review Letters 87(12): 123401
ISSN/ISBN: 0031-9007 PMID: 11580509 DOI: 10.1103/physrevlett.87.123401
The exponential law is valid both for decay from a single quantum state into a continuum and for an ensemble maintained in thermal equilibrium. For statistical decay of an ensemble of isolated systems with a broad energy distribution, the exponential decay is replaced by a 1/t distribution. We present confirmation of this decay law by experiments with cluster anions in a small electrostatic storage ring. Deviations from the 1/t law for such an ensemble give important information on the dynamics of the systems. As examples, we present measurements revealing strong radiative cooling of anions of both metal clusters and fullerenes.