Space–time control of free induction decay in the extreme ultraviolet


Ultrafast extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) and X-ray sources are revolutionizing our ability to follow femtosecond processes with ångström-scale resolution. The next frontier is to simultaneously control the direction, duration and timing of such radiation. Here, we demonstrate a fully functional opto-optical modulator for XUV light, similar to modulators available at infrared (IR) and visible wavelengths. It works by using an IR pulse to control the spatial and spectral phase of the free induction decay that results from using attosecond pulses to excite a gas. The modulator allows us to send the XUV light in a direction of our choosing at a time of our choosing. The inherent synchronization of the XUV emission to the control pulse will allow laser-pump/X-ray probe experiments with sub-femtosecond time resolution.

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Figure 1: Schematic illustration of XFID radiation control.
Figure 2: Experimental spatial–spectral profile of the XUV pulse consisting of the 9th harmonic of 780 nm after transmission through argon.
Figure 3: Delay dependence of the on- and off-axis emission.
Figure 4: Theroretical calculations.
Figure 5: Delay dependence of XFID emission.


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This research was supported by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the Crafoord Foundation, the European Research Council (no. 339253), the Swedish Research Council, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 641789 MEDEA (Molecular Electron Dynamics investigated by IntensE Fields and Attosecond Pulses). Research at Louisiana State University was supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, under contract no. DE-SC0010431. Portions of this research were conducted with high performance computing resources provided by Louisiana State University (

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S.B., E.W.L., D.K., L.R. and J.M. designed the experiment and built the experimental set-up. S.B. and E.W.L. conducted the experiments. A.L.H., C.L.A., M.M. and E.W.L. delivered and maintained the experimental laser system. S.C., M.B.G. and K.J.S. carried out the theoretical calculations and contributed to the interpretation of the experimental results. J.M., E.W.L., S.B. and K.J.S. wrote a major part of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the discussion of the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to J. Mauritsson.

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Bengtsson, S., Larsen, E., Kroon, D. et al. Space–time control of free induction decay in the extreme ultraviolet. Nature Photon 11, 252–258 (2017).

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