We have studied the formation of the molecular ion Rb2+ and the atomic ion Rb+. These are created in laser excited rubidium vapor at the first resonance, 5s–5p and 5p-nl transitions. A theoretical model is applied to this interaction to explain the time evolution and the laser-power dependence of the population density of Rb+ and Rb2+. A set of rate equations which describe: the temporal variation of the population density of the excited states; the atomic ion density; and the electron density, were solved numerically under the experimental conditions of Barbier and Cheret. In their experiment the Rb concentration was 1×1013cm−3 and the laser power was taken to be 50–500 mW at vapor temperature = 450 K. The results showed that the main processes for producing Rb2+ are associative ionization and Hornbeck-Molnar ionization. The calculations have also showed that, the atomic ions Rb+ are formed through the Penning Ionization (PI) and photoionization processes. Moreover, a reasonable agreement between the experimental results and our calculations for the ion currents of the Rb+ and Rb2+ is obtained.
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