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Physical Review A

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The dynamic scalar and tensor polarizabilities of the rare-earth-metal atoms are calculated with time-dependent density functional theory. The frequency-dependent polarizabilities at imaginary frequencies are used to determine the isotropic and orientation-dependent van der Waals coefficients for the interactions of the rare-earth-metal atoms with helium atoms. The static polarizabilities are compared with other theoretical values and with experimental results. The agreement is satisfactory in most cases but there are some exceptions where the discrepancy between theory and experiment is significant. The derived isotropic van der Waals coefficients range between 37 and 50 E(H)a(0)(6) and the orientation-dependent coefficients between 2 and -1 E(H)a(0)(6). Thus the ratio of elastic to inelastic scattering cross sections is expected to be substantial and any one of the rare-earth-metal atoms is an excellent candidate for trapping and cooling in a He gas.