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Nat Commun. 2017 Jul 26;8(1):141. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00193-4.

High-energy mid-infrared sub-cycle pulse synthesis from a parametric amplifier.

Author information

1
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139, USA.
2
Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology, 2 Fusionopolis Way, Singapore, 138634, Singapore.
3
Department of Physics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 43210, USA.
4
Center for Free-Electron Laser Science, DESY and Department of Physics, University of Hamburg, 22607, Hamburg, Germany.
5
BAE System, MER15-1813, P.O. Box 868, Nashua, New Hampshire, 03061, USA.
6
School of Applied and Engineering Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 14853, USA.
7
The Hamburg Center for Ultrafast Imaging, Luruper Chaussee 149, 22761, Hamburg, Germany.
8
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139, USA. kyunghan@mit.edu.

Abstract

High-energy phase-stable sub-cycle mid-infrared pulses can provide unique opportunities to explore phase-sensitive strong-field light-matter interactions in atoms, molecules and solids. At the mid-infrared wavelength, the Keldysh parameter could be much smaller than unity even at relatively modest laser intensities, enabling the study of the strong-field sub-cycle electron dynamics in solids without damage. Here we report a high-energy sub-cycle pulse synthesiser based on a mid-infrared optical parametric amplifier and its application to high-harmonic generation in solids. The signal and idler combined spectrum spans from 2.5 to 9.0 µm. We coherently synthesise the passively carrier-envelope phase-stable signal and idler pulses to generate 33 μJ, 0.88-cycle, multi-gigawatt pulses centred at ~4.2 μm, which is further energy scalable. The mid-infrared sub-cycle pulse is used for driving high-harmonic generation in thin silicon samples, producing harmonics up to ~19th order with a continuous spectral coverage due to the isolated emission by the sub-cycle driver.Stable sub-cycle pulses in the mid-infrared region allow damage-free investigation of electron dynamics in solids. Here, the authors develop a suitable source to this end which is based on an optical parametric amplifier.

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