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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Mar 31;96(12):125004. Epub 2006 Mar 30.

Coherent wake emission of high-order harmonics from overdense plasmas.

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Service des Photons, Atomes et Molécules, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, DSM/DRECAM, CEN Saclay, 91191 Gif sur Yvette, France.


We present a new mechanism for high-order harmonic generation by reflection of a laser beam from an overdense plasma, efficient even at moderate laser intensities (down to Igamma2 approximately 4x10(15) W cm-2 microm2). In this mechanism, a transient phase matching between the electromagnetic field and plasma oscillations within a density gradient leads to the emission of harmonics up to the plasma frequency. These plasma oscillations are periodically excited in the wake of attosecond electron bunches which sweep across the density gradient. This process leads to a train of unevenly spaced chirped attosecond pulses and, hence, to broadened and chirped harmonics. This last effect is confirmed experimentally.

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