A team from the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg excites nuclei of iron atoms with a flash of X-ray light and then sends a second such flash onto the sample with different delays and detuning. Then, over a period of about 200 nanoseconds, the researchers measure the intensity of the light with which the nuclei release the absorbed energy (light yellow: high intensity; violet: low intensity). They can choose the delay so that the second flash reduces the excitation and the nuclei release their energy quickly and with high intensity (a). After only 50 nanoseconds, the emission has decreased significantly. In contrast, they still emit a relatively large amount of light after more than 100 nanoseconds if the second pulse amplifies the excitation from the first (b).
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