Letter | Published:

Towards isolated attosecond pulses at megahertz repetition rates

Nature Photonics volume 7, pages 555559 (2013) | Download Citation

Abstract

The strong-field process of high-harmonic generation is the foundation for generating isolated attosecond pulses1, which are the fastest controllable events ever induced. This coherent extreme-ultraviolet radiation has become an indispensable tool for resolving ultrafast motion in atoms and molecules2,3. Despite numerous spectacular developments in the new field of attoscience2,3,4, the low data-acquisition rates imposed by low-repetition-rate (maximum of 3 kHz) laser systems5 hamper the advancement of these sophisticated experiments. Consequently, the availability of high-repetition-rate sources will overcome a major obstacle in this young field. Here, we present the first megahertz-level source of extreme-ultraviolet continua with evidence of isolated attosecond pulses using a fibre laser-pumped optical parametric amplifier6 for high-harmonic generation at 0.6 MHz. This 200-fold increase in repetition rate will enable and promote a vast variety of new applications, such as attosecond-resolution coincidence and photoelectron spectroscopy7, or even video-rate acquisition for spatially resolved pump–probe measurements.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC grant agreement no. 240460, UK-EPSRC project EP/J002348/1 and UK Royal Society project IE121529. The authors thank E. Cormier for providing initial simulations and for fruitful discussions. L.C. thanks the Imperial College High Performance Computing Service for the use of their facilities.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Abbe Center of Photonics, Institute of Applied Physics, Albert-Einstein-Straße 15, 07745 Jena, Germany

    • Manuel Krebs
    • , Steffen Hädrich
    • , Stefan Demmler
    • , Jan Rothhardt
    • , Jens Limpert
    •  & Andreas Tünnermann
  2. Helmholtz-Institute Jena, Fröbelstieg 3, 07743 Jena, Germany

    • Steffen Hädrich
    • , Jan Rothhardt
    • , Jens Limpert
    •  & Andreas Tünnermann
  3. Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2AZ, UK

    • Amelle Zaïr
  4. Max-Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy, Max-Born-Straße 2A, 12489 Berlin, Germany

    • Luke Chipperfield
  5. Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering, Albert-Einstein-Straße 7, 07745 Jena, Germany

    • Andreas Tünnermann

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Contributions

J.L. conceived the initial idea. The experiments were planned, designed and performed by M.K., S.D., S.H. and J.R. with support from A.Z., L.C. and J.L. The experimental data were analysed by M.K. and S.H, and L.C. and A.Z. contributed the simulations and supported the interpretation of the results. J.L. and A.T. supervised the project and acquired funding. All authors contributed to the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Manuel Krebs.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2013.131

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