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Plasmonic generation of ultrashort extreme-ultraviolet light pulses


Ultrashort extreme-ultraviolet pulses are a key tool in time-resolved spectroscopy for the investigation of electronic motion in atoms1,2, molecules3 and solids4. High-harmonic generation is a well-established process for producing ultrashort extreme-ultraviolet pulses by direct frequency upconversion of femtosecond near-infrared pulses5,6,7. However, elaborate pump–probe experiments performed on the attosecond timescale8,9 require continuous efforts to improve the spatiotemporal coherence and also the repetition rate of the generated pulses. Here, we demonstrate a three-dimensional metallic waveguide for the plasmonic generation of ultrashort extreme-ultraviolet pulses by means of field enhancement using surface-plasmon polaritons. The intensity enhancement factor reaches a peak of 350, allowing generation up to the 43rd harmonic in xenon gas, with a modest incident intensity of 1 × 1011 W cm–2. The pulse repetition rate is maintained as high as 75 MHz without external cavities. The plasmonic waveguide is fabricated on a cantilever microstructure and is therefore suitable for near-field spectroscopy with nanometre-scale lateral selectivity.

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Figure 1: Plasmonic nanofocusing of femtosecond NIR light pulses for high-harmonic generation of coherent ultrashort EUV pulses using a metallic waveguide.
Figure 2: Computation of the enhanced electric field inside the waveguide by adopting a FDTD method.
Figure 3: Waveguide fabrication on the tip of a cantilever microstructure using the FIB process.
Figure 4: Experimental results.

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This work was supported by the Creative Research Initiative Program, the National Space Laboratory Program and the Basic Science Research Program (2010-0024882) funded by the National Research Foundation of the Republic of Korea. M.F.K. acknowledges support by the German Science Foundation through the Emmy-Noether programme and SPP1391 and by the BMBF through the PhoNa network. The work of M.I.S. was supported by the Chemical Sciences, Biosciences and Geosciences Division (grant no. DEFG02-01ER15213) and the Materials Sciences and Engineering Division (grant no. DE-FG02-11ER46789) of the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Science, US Department of Energy.

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The project was planned by S.-W.K., S.K., I.-Y.P. and J.C. The simulation and experiment were performed by I.-Y.P., S.K., J.C. and D.-H.L. Spectral characterization of the higher harmonics was contributed by M.F.K. All authors discussed the results and contributed to the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Seung-Woo Kim.

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Park, IY., Kim, S., Choi, J. et al. Plasmonic generation of ultrashort extreme-ultraviolet light pulses. Nature Photon 5, 677–681 (2011).

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