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Time-resolved atomic inner-shell spectroscopy


The characteristic time constants of the relaxation dynamics of core-excited atoms have hitherto been inferred from the linewidths of electronic transitions measured by continuous-wave extreme ultraviolet or X-ray spectroscopy. Here we demonstrate that a laser-based sampling system, consisting of a few-femtosecond visible light pulse and a synchronized sub-femtosecond soft X-ray pulse, allows us to trace these dynamics directly in the time domain with attosecond resolution. We have measured a lifetime of 7.9-0.9+1.0 fs of M-shell vacancies of krypton in such a pump–probe experiment.

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Figure 1: Schematic illustration of atomic excitation and relaxation processes following exposure to an ultrashort X-ray pulse.
Figure 2: Attosecond two-colour sampling technique for probing electron emission from atoms.
Figure 3: Laser sampling of Auger electron emission with attosecond resolution.
Figure 4: Evolution of electron spectra following core excitation.
Figure 5: Probing the temporal evolution of Auger electron emission.


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Sponsored by the Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (Austria), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Germany) and by the European Atto Network.

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Correspondence to M. Drescher or F. Krausz.

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Drescher, M., Hentschel, M., Kienberger, R. et al. Time-resolved atomic inner-shell spectroscopy. Nature 419, 803–807 (2002).

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