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We investigate the absorption line shapes of laser-dressed atoms beyond the single-atom response, by using extreme ultraviolet (XUV) attosecond pulse trains to probe an optically thick helium target under the influence of a strong infrared (IR) field. We study the interplay between the IR-induced phase shift of the microscopic time-dependent dipole moment and the resonant-propagation-induced reshaping of the macroscopic XUV pulse. Our experimental and theoretical results show that as the optical depth increases, this interplay leads initially to a broadening of the IR-modified line shape, and subsequently, to the appearance of new, narrow features in the absorption line.

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Physical Review Letters