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Phys Rev Lett. 2003 Dec 19;91(25):253004. Epub 2003 Dec 18.

Measurement of the phase of few-cycle laser pulses.

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Department of Physics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-4242, USA.


For the shortest pulses generated to date, the amplitude of the electromagnetic wave changes almost as rapidly as the field oscillates. The temporal variation of the field, which directly governs strong-field interactions, therefore depends on whether the maximum of the pulse amplitude coincides with that of the wave cycle or not, i.e., on the phase of the field with respect to the pulse envelope. It is demonstrated that the direction of electron emission from photoionized atoms can be controlled by varying the phase of the field, providing for the first time a tool for its accurate determination. Directing fast electron emission to the right or to the left with the light phase constitutes a new kind of coherent control.

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