Extreme Nonlinear Optics with Few-Cycle Laser Pulses

Matthias LENZNER  Matthias SCHNURER  Christian SPIELMANN  Ferenc KRAUSZ  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E81-C   No.2   pp.112-122
Publication Date: 1998/02/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: INVITED PAPER (Special Issue on Ultrashort Optical Pulse Technologies and their Applications)
Category: Femtosecond Solid State Lasers
femtosecond laser,  ultrafast optics,  X-ray generation,  high harmonics,  

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Recent advances in solid-state laser technology and ultrafast optics led to the generation of optical pulses as short as 5 femtoseconds with peak powers up to the subterawatt level from a compact kHz-repetition-rate all-solid-state laser. This source significantly pushes the frontiers of nonlinear optics. Exciting new possibilities include the investigation and exploitation of reversible nonlinear optical processes in solids at unprecedented intensity levels, the development of a compact laser-driven coherent soft-X ray source at photon energies near 1 keV, and the generation of attosecond xuv pulses. First, a brief review of recent milestones in the evolution of ultrafast laser technology is given, followed by a description of the high-power 5-fs source. The rest of the paper is devoted to applications in previously inaccessible regimes of nonlinear optics. We demonstrate that wide-gap dielectrics resist intensities in excess of 1014 W/cm2 in the sub-10 fs regime and the extension of high-harmonic generation in helium to wavelengths shorter than 2. 4 nm (Eph > 0. 5 keV).