We report the observation of an electric quadrupole transition between the and states in the spectrum of argon and use it in the first step of a scheme to excite Rydberg states. The initial identification of the transition is based on one-color, two-photon photoionization. A different experiment utilizing two-color, two-photon photoexcitation to Rydberg states confirms the identification. Despite the unavoidable background of one-color, two-photon photoionization, the latter experimental technique makes possible two-photon spectroscopy of Rydberg states using a resonant intermediate state populated by an electric quadrupole transition.
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