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Opt Express. 2013 Dec 30;21(26):31925-39. doi: 10.1364/OE.21.031925.

Control of ultra-intense single attosecond pulse generation in laser-driven overdense plasmas.


Ultra-intense single attosecond pulse (AP) can be obtained from circularly polarized (CP) laser interacting with overdense plasma. High harmonics are naturally generated in the reflected laser pulses due to the laser-induced one-time drastic oscillation of the plasma boundary. Using two-dimensional (2D) planar particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations and analytical model, we show that multi-dimensional effects have great influence on the generation of AP. Self-focusing and defocusing phenomena occur in front of the compressed plasma boundary, which lead to the dispersion of the generated AP in the far field. We propose to control the reflected high harmonics by employing a density-modulated foil target (DMFT). When the target density distribution fits the laser intensity profile, the intensity of the attosecond pulse generated from the center part of the plasma has a flatten profile within the center range in the transverse direction. It is shown that a single 300 attosecond (1 as = 10(-18)s) pulse with the intensity of 1.4 × 10(21) W cm(-2) can be naturally generated. Further simulations reveal that the reflected high harmonics properties are highly related to the modulated density distribution and the phase offset between laser field and the carrier envelope. The emission direction of the AP generated from the plasma boundary can be controlled in a very wide range in front of the plasma surface by combining the DMFT and a suitable driving laser.

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