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Abstract

A recently proposed model providing an easy calculation of the branching ratios of collision-induced transitions among the ZEEMAN sublevels of exited alkali atoms is criticized. It proves valid if no coupling takes place between the angular momentum of the motion of the colliding atoms and the projection of the electronic orbital momentum upon the internuclear axis. This coupling would arise if the molecular σ- and π-states of the incoming wave would be strongly dephased during the collision. As a consequence, the transitions 2P1/2, m = 1/2 [LEFT RIGHT ARROW] 1P1/2, m = −1/2 and 2P3/2, m = − 1/2 would occur which would be forbidden in the case of only slight dephasing of the σ- and the π-states.