Peer-Review Publications


A. Fedotov, A. Ilderton, Karbstein, B. King, D. Seipt, H. Taya, and G. Torgrimsson
Advances in QED with intense background fields
Physics Reports, 1010 :1 (April 2023)
Upcoming and planned experiments combining increasingly intense lasers and energetic particle beams will access new regimes of nonlinear, relativistic, quantum effects. This improved experimental capability has driven substantial progress in QED in intense background fields. We review here the advances made during the last decade, with a focus on theory and phenomenology. As ever higher intensities are reached, it becomes necessary to consider processes at higher orders in both the number of scattered particles and the number of loops, and to account for non-perturbative physics (e.g. the Schwinger effect), with extreme intensities requiring resummation of the loop expansion. In addition to increased intensity, experiments will reach higher accuracy, and these improvements are being matched by developments in theory such as in approximation frameworks, the description of finite-size effects, and the range of physical phenomena analysed. Topics on which there has been substantial progress include: radiation reaction, spin and polarisation, nonlinear quantum vacuum effects and connections to other fields including physics beyond the Standard Model.
W. Middents, G. Weber, A. Gumberidze, C. Hahn, T. Krings, N. Kurz, P. Pfäfflein, N. Schell, U. Spillmann, S. Strnat, M. Vockert, A. Volotka, A. Surzhykov, and T. Stöhlker
Angle-differential cross sections for Rayleigh scattering of highly linearly polarized hard x rays on Au atoms
Physical Review A, 107 :012805 (January 2023)
We perform a study on Rayleigh scattering of highly linearly polarized hard x rays on a thin Au foil target. In the study the angular distribution of the scattered radiation is analyzed in a relativistic regime both within and out of the plane of polarization of the incident beam. Within this experiment we scatter a synchrotron beam with a photon energy of 175 keV on a high-Z target foil, namely, gold. Our findings correlate well with state-of-the-art calculations of the scattering process performed in the framework of quantum electrodynamics and may have considerable impact on future experiments regarding a polarization-resolved analysis of Delbrück scattering. Furthermore, we show that the angular distribution of Rayleigh scattering can be used for a highly sensitive determination of the degree and orientation of the linear polarization of the incident hard-x-ray beam, if we rely on the theoretical framework.
A. Kirsche, R. Klas, M. Gebhardt, L. Eisenbach, W. Eschen, J. Buldt, H. Stark, J. Rothhardt, and J. Limpert
Continuously tunable high photon flux high harmonic source at 50 – 70 eV
Optics Express, 31 :2744 (January 2023)
A fully tunable table-top extreme ultraviolet source providing state-of-the-art photon flux at energies of 50-70 eV is presented. It is based on a nonlinear blueshift and subsequent high harmonic generation in a gas-filled capillary.
B. Minneker, R. Klas, J. Rothhardt, and S. Fritzsche
Critical Laser Intensity of Phase-Matched High-Order Harmonic Generation in Noble Gases
Photonics, 10 :1 (January 2023)
The efficient generation of high-order harmonic radiation has been a challenging task since the early days of strong-field physics. An essential requirement to achieve efficient high-order harmonic generation inside a gas medium is the phase matching of the high-order harmonic radiation and the incident laser pulse. The dominant contribution to the wave–vector mismatch Δk is associated with the ionization probability of the medium. In this work, we derive two analytical formulas to calculate the critical intensity of a general linearly polarized laser pulse that obey the phase-matching condition Δk=0. The analytic formulas are valid in the tunneling regime (ADK model) and the regime of the tunnel and multi-photon ionization (PPT model), respectively. We compare our results to numerical computations and discuss the scaling of the critical intensity depending on the pulse duration and the wavelength of a realistic incident laser pulse. The analytical approach demonstrated in this work is highly accurate and can compete with the existing numerical computational methods by an error of less than 1% and a decrease in the computation time of approximately 4 to 6 orders of magnitude. This enables complex theoretical studies of the efficiency scaling in HHG or to consider the effects of ground state depletion efficiently.
P. Pfäfflein, G. Weber, S. Allgeier, S. Bernitt, A. Fleischmann, M. Friedrich, C. Hahn, D. Hengstler, M. Herdrich, A. Kalinin, F. Kröger, P. Kuntz, M. Lestinsky, B. Löher, E. Menz, U. Spillmann, B. Zhu, C. Enss, and T. Stöhlker
Exploitation of the Timing Capabilities of Metallic Magnetic Calorimeters for a Coincidence Measurement Scheme
Atoms, 11 :1 (January 2023)
In this report, we compare two filter algorithms for extracting timing information using novel metallic magnetic calorimeter detectors, applied to the precision X-ray spectroscopy of highly charged ions in a storage ring. Accurate timing information is crucial when exploiting coincidence conditions for background suppression to obtain clean spectra. For X-rays emitted by charge-changing interactions between ions and a target, this is a well-established technique when relying on conventional semiconductor detectors that offer a good temporal resolution. However, until recently, such a coincidence scheme had never been realized with metallic magnetic calorimeters, which typically feature much longer signal rise times. In this report, we present optimized timing filter algorithms for this type of detector. Their application to experimental data recently obtained at the electron cooler of CRYRING@ESR at GSI, Darmstadt is discussed.
W. Eschen, C. Liu, D. Penagos Molina, R. Klas, J. Limpert, and J. Rothhardt
High-speed and wide-field nanoscale table-top ptychographic EUV imaging and beam characterization with a sCMOS detector
Optics Express, 31 :14212 (April 2023)
We present high-speed and wide-field EUV ptychography at 13.5 nm wavelength using a table-top high-order harmonic source. Compared to previous measurements, the total measurement time is significantly reduced by up to a factor of five by employing a scientific complementary metal oxide semiconductor (sCMOS) detector that is combined with an optimized multilayer mirror configuration. The fast frame rate of the sCMOS detector enables wide-field imaging with a field of view of 100 µm × 100 µm with an imaging speed of 4.6 Mpix/h. Furthermore, fast EUV wavefront characterization is employed using a combination of the sCMOS detector with orthogonal probe relaxation.
F. Kröger, G. Weber, S. Allgeier, Z. Andelkovic, S. Bernitt, A. Borovik, L. Duval, A. Fleischmann, O. Forstner, M. Friedrich, J. Glorius, A. Gumberidze, C. Hahn, F. Herfurth, D. Hengstler, M. Herdrich, P.-M. Hillenbrand, A. Kalinin, M. Kiffer, M. Kubullek, P. Kuntz, M. Lestinsky, B. Löher, E. Menz, T. Over, N. Petridis, P. Pfäfflein, S. Ringleb, R. Sidhu, U. Spillmann, S. Trotsenko, A. Warczak, B. Zhu, C. Enss, and T. Stöhlker
Towards an Intrinsic Doppler Correction for X-ray Spectroscopy of Stored Ions at CRYRING@ESR
Atoms, 11 :1 (January 2023)
We report on a new experimental approach for the Doppler correction of X-rays emitted by heavy ions, using novel metallic magnetic calorimeter detectors which uniquely combine a high spectral resolution with a broad bandwidth acceptance. The measurement was carried out at the electron cooler of CRYRING@ESR at GSI, Darmstadt, Germany. The X-ray emission associated with the radiative recombination of cooler electrons and stored hydrogen-like uranium ions was investigated using two novel microcalorimeter detectors positioned under 0∘ and 180∘ with respect to the ion beam axis. This new experimental setup allowed the investigation of the region of the N, M → L transitions in helium-like uranium with a spectral resolution unmatched by previous studies using conventional semiconductor X-ray detectors. When assuming that the rest-frame energy of at least a few of the recorded transitions is well-known from theory or experiments, a precise measurement of the Doppler shifted line positions in the laboratory system can be used to determine the ion beam velocity using only spectral information. The spectral resolution achievable with microcalorimeter detectors should, for the first time, allow intrinsic Doppler correction to be performed for the precision X-ray spectroscopy of stored heavy ions. A comparison with data from a previous experiment at the ESR electron cooler, as well as the conventional method of conducting Doppler correction using electron cooler parameters, will be discussed.
P. Balla, H. Tuennermann, S. Salman, M. Fan, S. Ališauskas, I. Hartl, and C. Heyl
Ultrafast serrodyne optical frequency translator
Nature Photonics, 17 :187 (December 2023)
The serrodyne principle enables an electromagnetic signal to be frequency shifted by applying a linear phase ramp in the time domain. This phenomenon has been exploited to frequency shift signals in the radiofrequency, microwave and optical regions of the electromagnetic spectrum over ranges of up to a few gigahertz, for example, to analyse the Doppler shift of radiofrequency signals for noise suppression and frequency stabilization. Here we employ this principle to shift the centre frequency of high-power femtosecond laser pulses over a range of several terahertz with the help of a nonlinear multi-pass cell. We demonstrate our method experimentally by shifting the central wavelength of a state-of-the-art 75 W frequency comb laser from 1,030 nm to 1,060 nm and to 1,000 nm. Furthermore, we experimentally show that this wavelength-shifting technique supports coherence characteristics at the few hertz-level while improving the temporal pulse quality. The technique is generally applicable to wide parameter ranges and different laser systems, enabling efficient wavelength conversion of high-power lasers to spectral regions beyond the gain bandwidth of available laser platforms.
C. Liu, W. Eschen, L. Loetgering, D. Molina, R. Klas, A. Iliou, M. Steinert, S. Herkersdorf, A. Kirsche, T. Pertsch, F. Hillmann, J. Limpert, and J. Rothhardt
Visualizing the ultra-structure of microorganisms using table-top extreme ultraviolet imaging
PhotoniX, 4 :1 (January 2023)
Table-top extreme ultraviolet (EUV) microscopy offers unique opportunities for label-free investigation of biological samples. Here, we demonstrate ptychographic EUV imaging of two dried, unstained model specimens: germlings of a fungus (Aspergillus nidulans), and bacteria (Escherichia coli) cells at 13.5 nm wavelength. We find that the EUV spectral region, which to date has not received much attention for biological imaging, offers sufficient penetration depths for the identification of intracellular features. By implementing a position-correlated ptychography approach, we demonstrate a millimeter-squared field of view enabled by infrared illumination combined with sub-60 nm spatial resolution achieved with EUV illumination on selected regions of interest. The strong element contrast at 13.5 nm wavelength enables the identification of the nanoscale material composition inside the specimens. Our work will advance and facilitate EUV imaging applications and enable further possibilities in life science.
M. Herdrich, D. Hengstler, A. Fleischmann, C. Enss, A. Gumberidze, P.-M. Hillenbrand, P. Indelicato, S. Fritzsche, and T. Stöhlker
X-ray Spectroscopy Based on Micro-Calorimeters at Internal Targets of Storage Rings
Atoms, 11 :1 (January 2023)
With metallic-magnetic calorimeters (MMCs), promising detectors for high-precision X-ray spectrometry in atomic and fundamental physics experiments are available. In this work, we present a pilot experiment based on a maXs-30 type MMC-spectrometer for recording X-rays emitted in collisions of lithium-like uranium ions with a molecular nitrogen gas jet in the internal target of the ESR storage ring of the GSI. Sample spectra have been measured, and a multitude of X-ray transitions have been unambiguously identified. As a first test and for comparison with data recorded at an EBIT, the 2s Lamb shift in lithium-like uranium was estimated.


B. Liu, M. Shi, M. Zepf, B. Lei, and D. Seipt
Accelerating Ions by Crossing Two Ultraintense Lasers in a Near-Critical Relativistically Transparent Plasma
Phys. Rev. Lett., 129 :274801 (December 2022)
A new scheme of ion acceleration by crossing two ultraintense laser pulses in a near-critical relativistically transparent plasma is proposed. One laser, acting as a trigger, preaccelerates background ions in its radial direction via the laser-driven shock. Another crossed laser drives a comoving snowplow field which traps some of the preaccelerated ions and then efficiently accelerates them to high energies up to a few giga-electron-volts. The final output ion beam is collimated and quasimonoenergetic due to a momentum-selection mechanism. Particle-in-cell simulations and theoretical analysis show that the scheme is feasible and robust.
H. Gies, F. Karbstein, and L. Klar
All-optical quantum vacuum signals in two-beam collisions
Phys. Rev. D, 106 :116005 (December 2022)
We study the collision of two optical laser pulses in a pump-probe setup using beams with circular and elliptic cross section and estimate the number of discernible signal photons induced by quantum vacuum nonlinearities. In this analysis we study strategies to optimize the quantum vacuum signal discernible from the background of the driving lasers. One of the main results is that the collision of two maximally focused lasers does not lead to the best discernible signal. Instead, widening the focus typically improves the signal to background separation in the far field. For petawatt class lasers, an optimal choice of the focus waist yields several discernible photons per shot in contrast to no discernible signal for tight focusing. Further enhancement is possible by using an elliptical waist.
S. Fritzsche
Application of Symmetry-Adapted Atomic Amplitudes
Atoms, 10 :127 (December 2022)
Following the work of Giulio Racah and others from the 1940s onward, the rotational symmetry of atoms and ions, e.g., the conservation of angular momentum, has been utilized in order to efficiently predict atomic behavior, from their level structure to the interaction with external fields, and up to the angular distribution and polarization of either emitted or scattered photons and electrons, while this rotational symmetry becomes apparent first of all in the block-diagonal structure of the Hamiltonian matrix, it also suggests a straight and consequent use of symmetry-adapted interaction amplitudes in expressing the observables of most atomic properties and processes. We here emphasize and discuss how atomic structure theory benefits from exploiting this symmetry, especially if open-shell atoms and ions in different charge states need to be combined with electrons in the continuum. By making use of symmetry-adapted amplitudes, a large number of excitation, ionization, recombination or even cascade processes can be formulated rather independently of the atomic shell structure and in a language close to the formal theory. The consequent use of these amplitudes in existing codes such as Grasp will therefore qualify them to deal with the recently emerging demands for developing general-purpose tools for atomic computations.
H. Gies, D. Gkiatas, and L. Zambelli
Background effective action with nonlinear massive gauge fixing
Phys. Rev. D, 106 :116013 (December 2022)
We combine a recent construction of a Becchi-Rouet-Stora-Tyutin (BRST)-invariant, nonlinear massive gauge fixing with the background field formalism. The resulting generating functional preserves background -field invariance as well as BRST invariance of the quantum field manifestly. The construction features BRST-invariant mass parameters for the quantum gauge and ghost fields. The formalism employs a background Nakanishi-Lautrup field which is part of the nonlinear gauge-fixing sector and thus should not affect observables. We verify this expectation by computing the one-loop effective action and the beta function of the gauge coupling as an example. The corresponding Schwinger functional generating connected correlation functions acquires additional one-particle reducible terms that vanish on shell. We also study off-shell one -loop contributions in order to explore the consequences of a nonlinear gauge fixing scheme involving a background Nakanishi-Lautrup field. As an application, we show that our formalism straightforwardly accommodates nonperturbative information about propagators in the Landau gauge in the form of the so-called decoupling solution. Using this nonperturbative input, we find evidence for the formation of a gluon condensate for sufficiently large coupling, whose scale is set by the BRST-invariant gluon mass parameter.
K. A. Janulewicz, Ł. Węgrzyński, T. Fok, A. Bartnik, H. Fiedorowicz, S. Skruszewicz, M. Wünsche, E. Eckner, S. Fuchs, J. Reinhard, J. J. Abel, F. Wiesner, G.G. Paulus, C. Rödel, C. M. Kim, and P. W. Wachulak
Broadband soft X-ray source from a clustered gas target dedicated to high-resolution XCT and X-ray absorption spectroscopy
Opt. Express, 30 :47867 (December 2022)
S. Strnat, J. Sommerfeldt, V. Yerokhin, W. Middents, T. Stöhlker, and A. Surzhykov
Circular Polarimetry of Hard X-rays with Rayleigh Scattering
Atoms, 10 :140 (December 2022)
We present a theoretical investigation of the elastic Rayleigh scattering of X-rays by atomic targets. Special attention is paid to the question of how the polarization of the scattered photons is affected if the incident light is itself polarized. In particular, we found that the circular polarization of the incoming X-rays may lead to a remarkable modification of the linear polarization of the scattered photons. Based on this \textasciigrave circular-to-linear-polarization-transfer\textquotesingle and on the fact that the linear polarization of X-rays can be conveniently observed by solid-state Compton detectors, we argue that Rayleigh scattering may be used as a tool for circular polarimetry of hard X-rays. To illustrate our proposal, we performed detailed calculations of 145 and 500 keV circularly polarized photons scattered by lead atoms. Based on these calculations, we found that the photon scattering under large angles with respect to the incident beam direction is most favorable for the circular polarimetry of hard X-rays. In particular, for 500 keV photon energy and scattering angles around 70 deg we found a remarkable modification of the linear polarization of scattered light for the case when the incident radiation is circularly polarized.
Z. Y. Song, Z. W. Wu, Z. H. Yang, B. L. Zhang, and G. Q. Xiao
Energy-loss enhancement and charge-equilibration time for highly charged xenon ions at near-Bohr velocity in solids
Phys. Rev. A, 106 :062817 (December 2022)
We probe the energy-loss enhancement in preequilibration and the charge-equilibration time for highly charged Xe ions (qin = 15-26) at near-Bohr velocity impinging on an Al target by measuring the dependence of the Xe L-shell x-ray yield on the initial charge state of the ions. The present results are found to be very consistent with those obtained in ion-transmission thin-foil experiments. The charge-equilibrium time is measured in the near-Bohr velocity region of highly charged ions in solids. Moreover, for the present collision system it is demonstrated by measuring the inner-shell x rays that the ionization of the inner-shell electrons of the projectile ions starts to contribute to ion energy loss at near-Bohr velocity.
M. Lestinsky, E. Menz, H. Danared, C. Krantz, E. Lindroth, Z. Andelkovic, C. Brandau, A. Braeuning-Demian, S. Fedotova, W. Geithner, F. Herfurth, A. Kalinin, I. Kraus, U. Spillmann, G. Vorobyev, and T. Stöhlker
First Experiments with CRYRING@ESR
Atoms, 10 :141 (December 2022)
The low-energy heavy ion storage ring CRYRING was transported from Stockholm to Darmstadt, modernized and reconfigured, and recommissioned as CRYRING@ESR. The machine is now in operation with all installations in service and is available as a user facility for experiments proposed through the SPARC collaboration. During the 2020-2022 period, we brought a number of experimental installations into service and used them to measure first data: the ultra-cold electron cooler for merged-beam electron-ion collisions, the gas jet target for atomic collisions, a next-generation microcalorimeter-based X-ray spectroscopy setup, and others. Ions can be injected either in low charge states from a local ion source through a 300 keV/u RFQ linac, or in high charge states from the GSI accelerator chain through ESR. This allows for very broad access to ions across the entire periodic table. CRYRING@ESR is able to de- or accelerate ions and cool and store beams of isotopically pure species in a desired charge state. While the analysis is still largely ongoing, the first experimental data already show that the machine reached its expected performance level, and our high expectations regarding achievable resolution in spectroscopy experiments have been fulfilled. With access to new classes of ions available through ESR injection and a new generation of experimental instrumentation, CRYRING@ESR is a unique facility for experiments with heavy, highly charged ions. Here, we will review our present setup and machine performance, discuss the data from our first commissioning experiments and briefly preview the upcoming new installations for the coming years.
B. Baghdasaryan, C. Sevilla-Gutierrez, F. Steinlechner, and S. Fritzsche
Generalized description of the spatio-temporal biphoton state in spontaneous parametric down-conversion
Phys. Rev. A, 106 :063711 (December 2022)
Spontaneous parametric down-conversion (SPDC) is a widely used source for photonic entanglement. Years of focused research have led to a solid understanding of the process, but a cohesive analytical description of the paraxial biphoton state has yet to be achieved. We derive a general expression for the spatio-temporal biphoton state that applies universally across common experimental settings and correctly describes the nonseparability of spatial and spectral modes. We formulate a criterion on how to decrease the coupling of the spatial from the spectral degree of freedom by taking into account the Gouy phase of interacting beams. This work provides new insights into the role of the Gouy phase in SPDC, and also into the preparation of engineered entangled states for multidimensional quantum information processing.
N. Marsic, W. Mueller, V. Tympel, T. Stöhlker, M. Stapelfeld, F. Schmidl, M. Schmelz, V. Zakosarenko, R. Stolz, D. Haider, T. Sieber, M. Schwickert, and H. De Gersem
Influence of Mechanical Deformations on the Performance of a Coaxial Shield for a Cryogenic Current Comparator
IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond., 32 :2500409 (December 2022)
This article studies the impact of mechanical deformations on the performance of a coaxial-type cryogenic current comparator (CCC). Such deformations may become a concern as the size of the CCC increases (e.g., when used as a diagnostic device in a particle accelerator facility involving beamlines with a large diameter). In addition to static deformations, this article also discusses the effect of mechanical vibrations on the CCC performance.
B. Baghdasaryan, F. Steinlechner, and S. Fritzsche
Maximizing the validity of the Gaussian approximation for the biphoton state from parametric down-conversion
Phys. Rev. A, 106 :063714 (December 2022)
Spontaneous parametric down-conversion (SPDC) is widely used in quantum applications based on photonic entanglement. The efficiency of photon pair generation is often characterized by means of a sinc(L delta k/2) function, where L is the length of the nonlinear medium and delta k is the phase mismatch between the pump and down-converted fields. In theoretical investigations, the sinc behavior of the phase mismatch has often been approximated by a Gaussian function exp (-alpha x(2)) in order to derive analytical expressions for the SPDC process. Different values have been chosen in the literature for the optimization factor alpha, for instance, by comparing the widths of sinc and Gaussian functions or the momentum of down-converted photons. As a consequence, different values of alpha provide different theoretical predictions for the same setup. Therefore an informed and unique choice of this parameter is necessary. In this paper, we present a choice of alpha which maximizes the validity of the Gaussian approximation. Moreover, we also discuss the so-called super-Gaussian and cosine-Gaussian approximations as practical alternatives with improved predictive power for experiments.
S. Kuhn, C. Cheung, N. S. Oreshkina, R. Steinbrügge, M. Togawa, S. Bernitt, L. Berger, J. Buck, M. Hoesch, J. Seltmann, F. Trinter, C. H. Keitel, M. G. Kozlov, S. G. Porsev, M. F. Gu, F. S. Porter, T. Pfeifer, M. A. Leutenegger, Z. Harman, M. S. Safronova, J. R. C. Lopez-Urrutia, and C. Shah
New Measurement Resolves Key Astrophysical Fe XVII Oscillator Strength Problem
Phys. Rev. Lett., 129 :245001 (December 2022)
M. Jolly, S. Voikopoulos, E. Lamour, A. Méry, A. Braeuning-Demian, J.-Y. Chesnel, A. Gumberidze, M. Lestinsky, S. Macé, C. Prigent, J.-M. Ramillon, J. Rangama, P. Rousseau, D. Schury, U. Spillmann, S. Steydli, T. Stöhlker, M. Trassinelli, and D. Vernhet
Performance of a keV/u Ion Spectrometer for the FISIC Platform
Atoms, 10 :146 (December 2022)
The design and performances of a newly built electrostatic charge state analyzer constructed to act as a spectrometer for keV/u ions are reported. It consists of two 90 & LCIRC; curved electrodes enclosed by Matsuda electrodes. This setup was recently tested using Ar9+ and Ar12+ ion beams at an energy of 10 keV per charge unit. This spectrometer achieves a good separation of different charge states formed by electron capture processes during collisions between primary ions and the residual gas. Thanks to these first tests, we have identified up to three different background contributions on the detector that need to be reduced or suppressed.
C. Liu, L. Mueller-Botticher, J. Popp, D. Fischer, and D. Cialla-May
Raman-based detection of ciprofloxacin and its degradation in pharmaceutical formulations
Talanta, 250 :123719 (December 2022)
A Raman-based label-free analytical method was developed to detect the antibiotic ciprofloxacin (CIP) in various pharmaceutical formulations in the presence of different matrices (e.g., ear drops, eye drops and infusion solutions). The Raman spectral analysis is performed for semiquantification in the case of a low background Raman signal, i.e., the signal originating from the excipient and carrier substance of the formulation does not interfere with the fingerprint spectrum of ciprofloxacin. In the case of a background spectrum rich in Raman modes originating from the excipient and carrier substance of the formulation, the pharmaceutical formulation is diluted 1:5000, and thus, the background signal is undetectable. Due to the high affinity of ciprofloxacin towards metallic surfaces, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is applied to allow for the sensitive detection of ciprofloxacin. Moreover, the developed measurement routine can be applied to monitor the degradation of the active component ciprofloxacin within the pharmaceutical formulation. The developed assay can therefore be extended to the pharmaceutical industry for quality control in assay applications or the preparation of individualized medicines.
R. Steinbrügge, S. Kuehn, F. Nicastro, M. Gu, M. Togawa, M. Hoesch, J. Seltmann, I. Sergeev, F. Trinter, S. Bernitt, C. Shah, M. Leutenegger, and J. López-Urrutia
X-Ray Photoabsorption of Density-sensitive Metastable States in Ne vii, Fe xxii, and Fe xxiii
Astrophysical Journal, 941 :941 (December 2022)
Metastable states of ions can be sufficiently populated in absorbing and emitting astrophysical media, enabling spectroscopic plasma-density diagnostics. Long-lived states appear in many isoelectronic sequences with an even number of electrons, and can be fed at large rates by various photonic and electronic mechanisms. Here, we experimentally investigate beryllium-like and carbon-like ions of neon and iron that have been predicted to exhibit detectable features in astrophysical soft X-ray absorption spectra. An ion population generated and excited by electron impact is subjected to highly monochromatic X-rays from a synchrotron beamline, allowing us to identify K alpha transitions from metastable states. We compare their energies and natural line widths with state-of-the-art theory and benchmark level population calculations at electron densities of 10(10.5) cm(-3).