Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Flashes of light out of the mirror

11.06.2012
A team of the Laboratory of Attosecond physics at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics developed an alternative way of generating attosecond flashes of light.

Electrons at a glass surface send out flashes of light with durations of only a few attoseconds when they come under the influence of high-intensity laser pulses. One attosecond is one part in a billion of one part in a billion of a second. In the electric field of the laser, the electrons at the surface start to oscillate. Hereby the ultrashort attosecond flashes of light are generated.


Attosecond flashes of light can be generated on a glass surface under the influence of strong laserpulses. Every laserpulse hitting the surface leaves a punctual imprint on the glass surface and produces attosecond flashes of light. Photo: Thorsten Naeser

The team at the Laboratory of Attosecond Physics (LAP) at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching has now advanced this innovative method. It has the potential to replace the current procedure of the generation of attosecond flashes of light. Presently these flashes are generated by electrons in noble gases. But the scientists are sure, that their method of the generation of attosecond flashes of light at surfaces has some advantages (Physcial Review Letters, Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 235003 (2012).

Flashes of light with attosecond duration enable observations in a world yet widely unknown – the microcosm. With their help the first images of the extremely fast motion of electrons became possible. The short bursts of light are usually generated by the use of noble gas atoms. The electrons of these atoms absorb the energy of the laser light and subsequently emit it again in the form of ultrashort flashes of light. It holds: The shorter the burst of light, the sharper the images out of the microcosm.

But there are other ways of generating these short bursts of light. A team at the Laboratory of Attosecond Physics (LAP) at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching has now advanced one of these methods. The scientists shot a laser pulse with a duration of only 8 femtoseconds and a power of 16 terawatts onto a glass target, which thereby turned into a relativistically oscillating mirror. One femtosecond corresponds to one part in a million of one part in a billion of one second and 16 terrawatt correspond to the power of round about 1000 nuclear power stations.
The 8 femtosecond laser pulse consisted of only 3 optical cycles and hence 3 cycles of its electric field. As soon as this electric field hits the glass surface a relativistic plasma forms. This means, that the electrons at the surface are accelerated out of the solid to velocities close to the speed of light and subsequently are decelerated and sent back to the surface again, as soon as the electric field changes its polarization. Thereby the electrons form an oscillating mirror. During the reflection at this moving mirror the pulsed laser light is converted from the near infrared spectral region down to the extreme ultraviolet (XUV, down to a wavelength of 17 nanometer) part of the spectrum. Hereby even shorter flashes of light with a duration in the attosecond regime are generated. These flashes of light occur as isolated bursts or trains of pulses, if filtered appropriately. Comparison with simulations of the method show that the ultrashort flashes of light have durations of around 100 attoseconds.

Compared to the conventional method of attosecond pulse generation these new flashes of light possess a higher number of photons and are hence more intense than their predecessors. This higher intensity allows for the splitting of these isolated bursts into two parts which enables the observation of processes in the microcosm with two attosecond flashes of light. This in turn permits a higher resolution than achievable up to now with the use of an attosecond burst in combination with a longer femtosecond laser pulse.

For ultrashort imaging this means that images with a greater richness of detail will become achievable in the future. [Thorsten Naeser]

Original Publication:
P. Heissler, R. Hörlein, J. M. Mikhailova, L. Waldecker, P. Tzallas, A. Buck, K. Schmid, C. M. S. Sears, F. Krausz, L. Veisz, M. Zepf and G. D. Tsakiris
Few-cycle driven relativistically oscillating plasma mirrors - a source of intense, isolated attosecond pulses
Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 235003 (2012)

For more information please contact:

Patrick Heissler
Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching
Hans-Kopfermann-Str. 1
85748 Garching
Phone: +49 (0) 89 / 32905 -624
E-mail: patrick.heissler@mpq.mpg.de

Prof. Dr. Ferenc Krausz
Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching
Phone: +49 (0) 89 / 32905 -612
E-mail: ferenc.krausz@mpq.mpg.de
http://www.attoworld.de

Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng
Press & Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching
Phone: +49 (0) 89 / 32905 -213
E-mail: olivia.meyer-streng@mpq.mpg.de

Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://www.mpq.mpg.de
http://www.attoworld.de

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht On Mars, sands shift to a different drum
24.05.2019 | University of Arizona

nachricht New Boost for ToCoTronics
23.05.2019 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New studies increase confidence in NASA's measure of Earth's temperature

A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.

The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...

Im Focus: The geometry of an electron determined for the first time

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.

The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

On Mars, sands shift to a different drum

24.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Piedmont Atlanta first in Georgia to offer new minimally invasive treatment for emphysema

24.05.2019 | Medical Engineering

Chemical juggling with three particles

24.05.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>