Deep-UV Laser Pulses Get Even Shorter

The Germany-based team known for its research into ultrashort light-pulse generation has pushed the record for the shortest deep-ultraviolet pulses below 3 fs.

 

Scatterings imagePart of the experimental setup for the generation of 2.8-fs pulses in the deep ultraviolet.

The Germany-based team known for its research into ultrashort light-pulse generation has pushed the record for the shortest deep-ultraviolet pulses below 3 fs.

Researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics in Garching, Germany, reported that they have generated pulses 2.8 fs long, measured at full width at half-maximum (Opt. Lett. 35, 2248). The pulse wavelengths ranged from 230 to 290 nm.

The researchers created these pulses through direct frequency upconversion of short (less than 4 fs) pulses of 750-nm laser light. The near-infrared driver pulses passed through a neon-filled gas cell and emerged at the third harmonic of the fundamental frequency.

According to Eleftherios Goulielmakis of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, the experiment was conducted in a vacuum to reduce dispersion, the bane of short-pulse applications. Yet the neon cell could have no windows, because any amount of glass would have elongated the pulses. So the team used a "quasi-static" cell, in which the laser light passed through small holes at each end and a continuous supply of additional neon maintained the gas pressure inside the cell. The scientists then characterized the UV pulses via an autocorrelation scheme involving three-photon ionization of krypton atoms.

In addition to spectroscopic applications, ultrashort UV pulses will be the key to future studies of the dynamics of electrons in atoms, molecules and even nanoparticles, Goulielmakis said.

Goulielmakis is the corresponding author on the Optics Letters paper. The team includes scientists from the University of Technology, Munich; Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; and King Saud University of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Patricia Daukantas is the senior writer/editor of Optics & Photonics News.

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Deep-UV Laser Pulses Get Even Shorter

The Germany-based team known for its research into ultrashort light-pulse generation has pushed the record for the shortest deep-ultraviolet pulses below 3 fs.

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