Concept

Resonant inelastic X-ray scattering

Summary
Resonant inelastic X-ray scattering (RIXS) is an advanced X-ray spectroscopy technique. In the last two decades RIXS has been widely exploited to study the electronic, magnetic and structural properties of quantum materials and molecules. It is a resonant X-rays photon-in photon-out energy loss and momentum resolved spectroscopy, capable of measuring the energy and momentum transferred to specific excitations proper of the sample under study. The use of X-rays guarantees bulk sensitivity, as opposed to electron spectroscopies, and the tuning of the incoming X-rays to a specific absorption edge allows for element and chemical specificity. Due to the intrinsic inefficiency of the RIXS process, extremely brilliant sources of X-rays are crucial. In addition to that, the possibility to tune the energy of the incoming X-rays is compelling to match a chosen resonance. These two strict conditions make RIXS to be necessarily performed at synchrotrons or nowadays at X-ray free electron lasers (XFELs) and set the advent of third generation synchrotrons (1994, ESRF) as a turning point for the success of the technique. Exploiting different experimental setups, RIXS can be performed using both soft and hard X-rays, spanning a vast range of absorption edges and thus samples to be studied. RIXS is a two steps process. First an electron is resonantly excited from a core level, defined by the absorption edge, to an empty state, leaving a core hole. The intermediate state with the core hole has a lifetime of few femtoseconds, then the system radiatively decays into the final state with the filling of the core hole and the emission of another photon. Since the probability of a radiative core hole relaxation is low, the RIXS cross section is very small and a high brilliance X-ray source is needed. Being a second order process, the RIXS cross section is described by the Kramers-Heisemberg formula. The scattering geometry (incidence and scattering angles) determines the momentum transfer .
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