The matrix element εfi(K), or ε, that appears in the study of elastic and inelastic electron-atom scattering from an initial state i to a final state f in the first Born approximation depends explicitly on the momentum transfer ℏK⃗ . The uncertainty in the value of the calculated cross sections arises not only from the application of the Born approximation but also from the approximate nature of the wave functions used. For the 1 S1−2 P1 transition in helium, we present an analytic expression in terms of the 1 S1 and 2 P1 wave functions for the leading coefficient C1 in the asymptotic expansion of ε as a power series in 1K; C1 is defined by ε∼C1K5 as K∼∞. An accurate numerical value of C1 is obtained by using a sequence of better and better 1 S1 and 2 P1 wave functions. An accurate value of C1 can be useful in obtaining an approximate analytic form for the matrix element. We also present analytic expressions, in terms of the 1 S1 wave function, for the coefficients of the two leading terms of ε for the diagonal case, that is, for the atomic form factor, and we obtain accurate estimates of those coefficients. The procedure is easily generalizable to other matrix elements of helium, but it would be difficult in practice to apply the procedure to matrix elements of other atoms. We also give a very simple approximate result, valid for a number of matrix elements of heavy atoms, for the ratios of the coefficients of successive terms (in the asymptotically high-K domain) in a power series in 1K. Finally, we plot ε for 1 S1 to 1 S1 and for 1 S1 to 2 P1, with the known low-K and high-K dependence extracted. One might hope that each plot would show little variation, but the 1 S1 to 1 S1 plot varies considerably as one goes to high K, and the 1 S1 to 2 P1 plot shows a very rapid variation for K∼∞, strongly suggesting that at least one element of "physics"—perhaps a pole outside of but close to the domain of convergence—has been omitted.
Wadehra JM, Spruch L. Large-momentum-transfer limit of some matrix elements. Phys. Rev. A. 1980;22(3):956-967. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevA.22.956