Structure factors for tunneling ionization rates of molecules: General Hartree-Fock-based integral representation
AbstractIn the leading-order approximation of the weak-field asymptotic theory (WFAT), the dependence of the tunneling ionization rate of a molecule in an electric field on its orientation with respect to the field is determined by the structure factor of the ionizing molecular orbital. The WFAT yields an expression for the structure factor in terms of a local property of the orbital in the asymptotic region. However, in general quantum chemistry approaches molecular orbitals are expanded in a Gaussian basis which does not reproduce their asymptotic behavior correctly. This hinders the application of the WFAT to polyatomic molecules, which are attracting increasing interest in strong-field physics. Recently, an integral-equation approach to the WFAT for tunneling ionization of one electron from an arbitrary potential has been developed. The structure factor is expressed in an integral form as a matrix element involving the ionizing orbital. The integral is not sensitive to the asymptotic behavior of the orbital, which resolves the difficulty mentioned above. Here, we extend the integral representation for the structure factor to many-electron systems treated within the Hartree-Fock method and show how it can be implemented on the basis of standard quantum chemistry software packages. We validate the methodology by considering noble-gas atoms and the CO molecule, for which accurate structure factors exist in the literature. We also present benchmark results for CO2 and for NH3 in the pyramidal and planar geometries.