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A technique for adiabatic control of the population flow through a preselected decaying excited level in a three-level quantum ladder is presented. The population flow through the intermediate or upper level is controlled efficiently and robustly by varying the pulse delay between a pair of partly overlapping coherent laser pulses. The technique is analyzed theoretically and demonstrated in an experiment with Na 2 molecules.doi:10.1103/physrevlett.95.043001 pmid:16090805 fatcat:vrd6vmj33rfpnmkhxyjj3bcsra