Proposing to use plasma waves to produce shorter laser pulses
Creating laser pulsesshort enough to achieve the ultimate resolution in light-matter interaction has proven very challenging. Physical Review Letters has published an article by Evangelos Siminos proposing the use of plasmas to create intense sub-cycle pulses that won't destroy the amplifying medium.
Achieving the ultimate resolution in light-matter interaction requires pulses with duration shorter than a single oscillation of the electromagnetic field, known as sub-cycle pulses. Creating bright sources of sub-cycle pulses is extremely challenging, mainly because as a laser pulse is being amplified and compressed it may become intense enough to destroy the amplifying medium by ionization.
In their recent work, Evangelos Siminos and his fellow researchers proposes a scheme which utilizes nonlinear waves propagating in plasmas to amplify and compress a seed electromagnetic pulse.
"Plasmas are not subject to material damage thresholds and our numerical simulations show that if this scheme is realized in the laboratory it could lead to sub-cycle pulses of unprecedented intensity", says Evangelos Siminos. "Moreover, the use of a plasma wave as an amplifying medium provides an additional benefit: control of the pulse waveform at the sub-wavelength level. This may allow a leap in our ability to probe and control matter at ultrashort timescales."
The scientific article is published in Physical Review Letters.
Read the full article here: Laser Wakefield Driven Generation of Isolated Carrier-Envelope-Phase Tunable Intense Subcycle Pulses