Synopsis: Counting attosecond pulses: One, two, or many

In the generation of attosecond pulse trains, the polarization state of the driving pulse acts as a tunable gate.
Synopsis figure
Illustration: G. Sansone et al., Phys. Rev. A (2009)

The generation of attosecond light pulses has led to great advances in the field of ultrafast dynamics. So far, the attosecond pulses with the most desirable features consist of a single pulse, but the ability to generate pairs or trains of pulses with a well-determined relative phase would allow scientists to perform time-dependent measurements, such as transient absorption.

In Physical Review A, Giuseppe Sansone and colleagues at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, in collaboration with researchers in Italy, Russia, and France describe a technique for producing single and double attosecond pulses, as well as pulse trains, with finely controlled relative amplitudes and phases. They do this by using few-cycle carrier-envelope phase stabilized pulses and by precisely controlling the polarization state of the driving pulse that generates the high harmonic field. In fact, the polarization state can both shape the characteristics of the attosecond pulses and act as a switch, or gate, for generating them.

This method for producing single, double, and multiple attosecond pulses could be applied to measuring ultrafast dynamics in a variety of media and, perhaps, electron wave-packet interferometry. – Frank Narducci


More Features »


More Announcements »

Subject Areas


Previous Synopsis

Related Articles

Focus: <i>Image</i>—Cooperating Lasers Make Topological Defects
Nonlinear Dynamics

Focus: Image—Cooperating Lasers Make Topological Defects

A circle of interacting lasers is a new model system for exploring topological defects, disordered structures that show up in a wide variety of seemingly unrelated systems. Read More »

Viewpoint: Inducing Transparency with a Magnetic Field

Viewpoint: Inducing Transparency with a Magnetic Field

A magnetic field applied to an atomic sample in an optical cavity generates optical transparency that could be used to enhance the frequency stability of lasers. Read More »

Focus: <i>Image</i>—Honeycomb Diffraction

Focus: Image—Honeycomb Diffraction

Predictions of diffraction patterns for honeycomb photonic crystals were part of a comprehensive study of these structures that may be useful in nanoscale photonic devices. Read More »

More Articles