Science2013-09-05 2:56 AM

Lorentz Meets Fano in Spectral Line Shapes: A Universal Phase and Its Laser Control

Symmetric Lorentzian and asymmetric Fano line shapes are fundamental spectroscopic signatures that quantify the structural and dynamical properties of nuclei, atoms, molecules, and solids. This study introduces a universal temporal-phase formalism, mapping the Fano asymmetry parameter q to a phase ϕ of the time-dependent dipole response function. The formalism is confirmed experimentally by laser-transforming Fano absorption lines of autoionizing helium into Lorentzian lines after attosecond-pulsed excitation. We also demonstrate the inverse, the transformation of a naturally Lorentzian line into a Fano profile. A further application of this formalism uses quantum-phase control to amplify extreme-ultraviolet light resonantly interacting with He atoms. The quantum phase of excited states and its response to interactions can thus be extracted from line-shape analysis, with applications in many branches of spectroscopy.

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