The temporal structure and high brilliance of the X-ray beams produced by third-generation synchrotrons open up new possibilities in time-dependent diffraction and spectroscopy, where timescales down to the sub-nanosecond regime can now be accessed. These beam properties are such that one can envisage the development of the X-ray equivalent of optical components, such as photon delay lines and resonators, that have proved indispensable in a wide range of experiments—for example, pump-probe and multiple-interaction experiments—and (through shaping the temporal structure and repetition rate of the beams) time-dependent measurements in crystallography, physics, biology and chemistry1,2,3. Optical resonators, such as those used in lasers, are available at wavelengths from the visible to soft X-rays4,5. Equivalent components for hard X-rays have been discussed for more than thirty years4,6,7, but have yet to be realized. Here we report the storage of hard X-ray photons (energy 15.817 keV) in a crystal resonator formed by two plates of crystalline silicon. The photons are stored for as many as 14 back-and-forth cycles within the resonator, each cycle separated by one nanosecond.
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We thank the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility crystal laboratory for the preparation of the resonator.
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Liss, KD., Hock, R., Gomm, M. et al. Storage of X-ray photons in a crystal resonator. Nature 404, 371–373 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/35006017