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Angle-resolved photoelectron spectra, resulting from the strong-field ionization of atoms or molecules, carry a rich amount of information on ionization pathways, electron dynamics, and the target structure. We have investigated angle-resolved photoelectron spectra arising from the nonresonant ionization of xenon Rydberg atoms in the multiphoton regime, using intense midinfrared radiation from a free-electron laser. The experimental data reveal a rich oscillatory structure in the low-order above-threshold ionization region. By performing quantum-mechanical and semiclassical calculations, the observed oscillations could be well reproduced and explained by both a multiphoton absorption picture as by a model invoking electron wave-packet interferences. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the shape and orientation of the initial Rydberg state leaves its own fingerprint on the final angular distribution. © 2013 American Physical Society.

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Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics