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Abstract

Addressing the ultrafast coherent evolution of electronic wave functions has long been a goal of nonlinear x-ray physics. A first step toward this goal is the investigation of stimulated x-ray Raman scattering (SXRS) using intense pulses from an x-ray free-electron laser. Earlier SXRS experiments relied on signal amplification during pulse propagation through dense resonant media. By contrast, our method reveals the fundamental process in which photons from the primary radiation source directly interact with a single atom. We introduce an experimental protocol in which scattered neutral atoms rather than scattered photons are detected. We present SXRS measurements at the neon K edge and a quantitative theoretical analysis. The method should become a powerful tool in the exploration of nonlinear x-ray physics.

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