A theoretical investigation is made of the 4p55p–4p65s transition array in Rb ii. When the calculation is carried to the first order only, the resulting lifetimes are bound to be systematically shorter than the available set of experimental data by some 30%. By taking account of second-order corrections (including configuration interaction with the continuum), the overall agreement with experiment is improved but a large discrepancy still remains between the calculation and a recent high-precision lifetime measurement on the p10 level. The quality of that measurement is confirmed by a new precision experiment using a coaxial ion-laser beam geometry. This remeasurement rules out any unaccounted experimental systematic error at the 1% level. As a result we conclude that caution must still be taken in the extrapolation along isoelectronic sequences of data obtained by semiempirical methods that have been previously found to be successful for the calculation of rare-gas transition probabilities. Further precision lifetime measurements in singly charged alkali ions are needed in order to better define the range of validity of such calculations.
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