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Illustration: Laser wakefield driven generation of isolated CEP-tunable intense sub-cycle pulses
Photo: Evangelos Siminos

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.

Evangelos Siminos
Evangelos Siminos

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