Atomic swelling upon compression

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The hydrogen atom under the pressure of a spherical penetrable confinement potential of a decreasing radius r 0 is explored, as a case study. A counter-intuitive effect of atomic swelling, rather than shrinking, with decreasing r 0 is unraveled when r 0 reaches, and remains smaller than, a certain critical value. Upon swelling, the size of the atom is shown to increase by an order of magnitude, or more, compared to the size of the free atom. Changes of photoabsorption properties of the hydrogen atom under said confinement are uncovered and demonstrated. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

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