AbstractThe time evolution of the electron structure is investigated in a molybdenum foil heated up to the warm dense matter regime by a femtosecond laser pulse, through time-resolved x-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy. Spectra are measured with independent characterizations of temperature and density. They are successfully compared with ab initio quantum molecular dynamic calculations. We demonstrate that the observed white line in the L3 edge reveals the time evolution of the electron density of state from the solid to the hot (a few eV) and expanding liquid. The data indicate a highly nonequilibrated state, 5 ps after heating.