Fundamental Processes in Energetic Atomic Collisions

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In recent years, the impact of new experimental techniques (e.g., nuclear physics methods, availability of high-intensity light sources) as well as an increasing demand for atomic collision data in other fields of physics (e.g., plasma physics, astrophysics, laser physics, surface physics, etc.) have stimulated a renewed, strong interest in atomic collision research. Due to the explosive development of the various fields, scientists often even have dif- ficulty in keeping up with their own area of research; as a result, the overlap between different fields tends to remain rather limited. Instead of having access to the full knowledge accumulated in other fields, one uses only the small fraction which at the moment seems to be of immediate importance to one's own area of interest. Clearly, many fruitful and stimulating ideas are lost in this way, causing progress to be made much more slowly than it could be. Atomic col- lision physics is no exception to this rule. Although it is of basic interest to many other areas, it is mostly regarded merely as a (nonetheless important) tool by which to gain additional information.