The method of relative self absorption is based on the technique of nuclear resonance fluorescence measurements. It allows for a model-independent determination of ground-state transition widths, natural level widths, and, consequently, of branching ratios to the ground state for individual excitations. Relative self-absorption experiments have been performed on the nuclei Li-6 and Ce-140. In order to investigate the total level width for the 0(1)(+), T = 1 level at 3563 keV in Li-6, a high-precision self-absorption measurement has been performed. In the case of Ce-140, self absorption has been applied for the first time to study decay widths of dipole-excited states in the energy regime of the pygmy dipole resonance.
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