Resonant X-ray emission spectroscopy from broadband stochastic pulses at an X-ray free electron laser.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/s42004-021-00512-3
Hard X-ray spectroscopy is an element specific probe of electronic state, but signals are weak and require intense light to study low concentration samples. Free electron laser facilities offer the highest intensity X-rays of any available light source. The light produced at such facilities is stochastic, with spikey, broadband spectra that change drastically from shot to shot. Here, using aqueous ferrocyanide, we show that the resonant X-ray emission (RXES) spectrum can be inferred by correlating for each shot the fluorescence intensity from the sample with spectra of the fluctuating, self-amplified spontaneous emission (SASE) source. We obtain resolved narrow and chemically rich information in core-to-valence transitions of the pre-edge region at the Fe K-edge. Our approach avoids monochromatization, provides higher photon flux to the sample, and allows non-resonant signals like elastic scattering to be simultaneously recorded. The spectra obtained match well with spectra measured using a monochromator. We also show that inaccurate measurements of the stochastic light spectra reduce the measurement efficiency of our approach.