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Timing the release in sequential double ionization

Nature Physics volume 7, pages 428433 (2011) | Download Citation

Abstract

The timing of electron release in strong-field double ionization poses great challenges both for conceptual definition and for conducting experimental measurements. Here we present coincidence momentum measurements of the doubly charged ion and of the two electrons arising from double ionization of argon using elliptically polarized laser pulses. Based on a semi-classical model, the ionization times are calculated from the measured electron momenta across a large intensity range. This paper discusses how this method provides timings on a coarse and on a fine scale, similar to the hour and the minute hand of a clock. We found that the ionization time of the first electron is in good agreement with the simulation, whereas the ionization of the second electron occurs significantly earlier than predicted.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the NCCR Quantum Photonics (NCCR QP), a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), by ETH Research Grant ETH-03 09-2 and by the SNSF R’Equip grant 206021_128551/1. R.D. acknowledges support by a Koselleck Project of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. We thank H. J. Wörner for enlightening discussions.

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Affiliations

  1. Physics Departement, ETH Zurich, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland

    • Adrian N. Pfeiffer
    • , Claudio Cirelli
    • , Mathias Smolarski
    •  & Ursula Keller
  2. Institut für Kernphysik, Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Max-von-Laue-Str. 1, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

    • Reinhard Dörner

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Contributions

A.N.P. and C.C. performed the experiments. A.N.P. analysed the data and implemented the simulation. All authors were involved in the interpretation. A.N.P., R.D. and U.K. wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Adrian N. Pfeiffer.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys1946

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