We report a theoretical calculation of the relativistic corrections to the binding energy of positronic alkali-metal atoms. The ground state for the positronic alkali-metal atom is a loosely bound state with the structure of an alkali-metal ion surrounded by a positronium cloud. The correlation between the valence electron and positron in the field of a residual core ion is taken into account using a three-body model. Relativistic corrections to the binding energy for positronic alkali-metal atoms are evaluated based on the Breit-Pauli perturbation theory up to the second order of the fine structure constant. The relativistic corrections caused by the interaction between the valence electron and core ion was evaluated from the decomposed expectation values of the perturbation Hamiltonian. We found that the importance of relativistic corrections to the binding energy, namely the ratio of the net relativistic correction in the total binding energy, is remarkably enhanced in the loosely bound states of positronic alkali-metal atoms, where the charge of the valence electron is screened by the positron as positronium in the outermost region, while the electron is released from the positron near the nucleus. The results imply that positronic atoms with a dominant positronium can serve as an apt testing ground for relativistic quantum mechanics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics