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In X-ray production, one usually distinguishes between bremsstrahlung (continuous spectrum) and characteristic lines. The brilliance of X-ray sources is calculated as

$B = \frac{N}{t \cdot A \cdot \Omega \cdot \frac{\Delta \lambda}{\lambda}}$

where $\frac{\Delta\lambda}{\lambda}$ is the spectral bandwidth of the radiation in question. This makes total sense for continuous spectra, but I wonder, how this can hold true for characteristic lines. So, I basically have two questions:

  1. How is the spectral bandwidth defined for characteristic lines?
  2. Where does the spectral brodening stem from for characteristic lines (if any)?
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The width of characteristic x-ray lines is usually determined by the lifetime of the core hole. In that case the line shape is Lorentzian.

Natural Widths of Atomic K and L Levels, Ka X-ray Lines and Several KLL Auger Lines, M.O. Krause and J.H. Oliver, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 329-338 (1979) https://srd.nist.gov/JPCRD/jpcrd137.pdf

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    $\begingroup$ Please consider adding an explanation to the answer from the given link. Link only answers are usually deleted. $\endgroup$
    – Yashas
    Apr 22, 2017 at 8:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Yashas There is an explanation, check the first two sentences of the answer. Yes, it is not very long, but it should be enough to survive a VLQ vote. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Apr 22, 2017 at 11:55

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