Predicted 20 years ago, positron binding to neutral atoms has not yet been observed experimentally. A scheme is proposed to detect positron-atom bound states by colliding Rydberg positronium (Ps) with neutral atoms. Estimates of the charge-transfer reaction cross section are obtained using the first Born approximation for a selection of neutral atom targets and a wide range of incident Ps energies and principal quantum numbers. We also estimate the corresponding Ps ionization cross section. The accuracy of the calculations is tested by comparison with earlier predictions for charge transfer in Ps collisions with hydrogen and antihydrogen. We describe an existing Rydberg Ps beam suitable for producing positron-atom bound states and estimate signal rates based on the calculated cross sections and realistic experimental parameters. We conclude that the proposed methodology is capable of producing such states and of testing theoretical predictions of their binding energies.
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Physical Review A (Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics)|
|Publication status||Published - 20 May 2016|