• A Corrigendum to this article was published on 01 August 2017

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Abstract

An electrical pulse E(t) is defined completely by its time-dependent amplitude and polarization direction. For optical pulses the manipulation and characterization of the light polarization state is fundamental because of its relevance in several scientific and technological fields. In this work, we demonstrate the complete temporal reconstruction of the electric field of few-cycle pulses with a complex time-dependent polarization. Our experimental approach is based on extreme ultraviolet interferometry with isolated attosecond pulses and on the demonstration that the motion of an attosecond electron wave packet is sensitive to perturbing fields only along the direction of its motion. By exploiting the sensitivity of interferometric techniques and by controlling the emission and acceleration direction of the wave packet, pulses with energies as low as a few hundreds of nanojoules can be reconstructed. Our approach reveals the possibility to characterize completely the electric field of the pulses typically used in visible pump–probe spectroscopy.

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Change history

  • 29 June 2017

    In the version of this Article originally published, the following sentences were missing from the Acknowledgements: "Financial support by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Project Tirinto) and the Italian Ministry of Research (project FIRB no. RBID08CRXK) is gratefully acknowledged. A.C. acknowledges financial support from ENS Paris-Saclay." These have now been added in the online versions of the Article.

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Acknowledgements

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 641789 Molecular Electron Dynamics investigated by Intense Fields and Attosecond Pulses (MEDEA), the European Research Council Starting Grant agreement no. 637756 Steering attosecond electron dynamics in biomolecules with UV-XUV LIGHT pulses (STARLIGHT). Financial support by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Project Tirinto) and the Italian Ministry of Research (project FIRB no. RBID08CRXK) is gratefully acknowledged. A.C. acknowledges financial support from ENS Paris-Saclay. G.G.P. acknowledges support from the German Science Foundation (PA 730/7 within priority programme 1840).

Author information

Author notes

    • P. Carpeggiani
    • , M. Reduzzi
    •  & A. Comby

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Dipartimento di Fisica, Politecnico Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy

    • P. Carpeggiani
    • , M. Reduzzi
    • , A. Comby
    • , H. Ahmadi
    • , M. Nisoli
    •  & G. Sansone
  2. IFN-CNR, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano Italy

    • P. Carpeggiani
    • , M. Reduzzi
    • , F. Calegari
    • , M. Nisoli
    •  & G. Sansone
  3. Department of Physical Chemistry, School of Chemistry, College of Science, University of Tehran, PO Box 14155-6455 Tehran, Iran

    • H. Ahmadi
  4. ELI-ALPS, ELI-Hu Kft., Dugonics ter 13, H-6720 Szeged, Hungary

    • S. Kühn
    •  & G. Sansone
  5. Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, Notkestrasse 85, Hamburg 22607, Germany

    • F. Calegari
  6. Physics Department, University of Hamburg, Luruper Chaussee 149, 22761 Hamburg, Germany

    • F. Calegari
  7. Institute of Photonics and Nanotechnologies, CNR via Trasea 7, 35131 Padova Italy

    • F. Frassetto
    •  & L. Poletto
  8. Institut für Optik und Quantenelektronik, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Max-Wien-Platz 1, 07743 Jena, Germany

    • D. Hoff
    •  & G. G. Paulus
  9. Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Bundesallee 100, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany

    • J. Ullrich
  10. Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik, Saupfercheckweg 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany

    • C. D. Schröter
    •  & R. Moshammer
  11. Physikalisches Institut, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany

    • G. Sansone

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Contributions

P.C., M.R. and G.S. conceived and planned the experiment. P.C., M.R. and H.A. conducted the experiment. M.R. and A.C. analysed the data. S.K., F.C. and M.N. contributed to the development of the experimental set-up. L.P. and F.F. designed and installed the XUV beamline. D.H. and G.G.P. designed and installed the CE phase meter. J.U., C.D.S. and R.M. designed and installed the reaction microscope. G.S. performed the simulations and theoretical analysis. The manuscript was drafted by G.S. and completed in consultation with all the authors.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to G. Sansone.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2017.73

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