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Probing electronic binding potentials with attosecond photoelectron wavepackets

Abstract

The central goal of attosecond science is to visualize, understand and ultimately control electron dynamics in matter over the fastest relevant timescales. To date, numerous schemes have demonstrated exquisite temporal resolution, on the order of ten attoseconds, in measurements of the response of photo-excited electrons to time-delayed probes. However, attributing this response to specific dynamical mechanisms is difficult, requiring guidance from advanced calculations. Here we show that energy transfer between an oscillating field and low-energy attosecond photoelectron wavepackets directly provides coarse-grained information on the effective binding potential from which the electrons are liberated. We employ a dense extreme ultraviolet (XUV) harmonic comb to photoionize He, Ne and Ar atoms and record the electron spectra as a function of the phase of a mid-infrared dressing field. The amplitude and phase of the resulting interference modulations in the electron spectra reveal the average momentum and change in momentum of the electron wavepackets during the first quarter-period of the dressing field after their creation, reflecting the corresponding coarse characteristics of the binding potential.

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Figure 1: Photoionization in a laser-dressed continuum and illustration of the RABBITT+ scheme.
Figure 2: Atomic parameters extracted from RABBITT+ measurements.
Figure 3: Pseudo-potential relevant to energy transfer in a laser-dressed continuum.
Figure 4: Classical energy transfer in laser-dressed Coulomb potentials.

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Acknowledgements

L.F.D. was supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, under Award #DE-FG02-04ER15614. R.R.J. was supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, under Awards #DE-FG02-00ER15053 (initial measurements and theory) and #DE-SC0012462 (analysis and manuscript preparation).

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Authors

Contributions

D.K. performed the measurements, reduced the experimental data, and developed/performed the analysis and numerical simulations. R.R.J. conceived the experiments and analytical approach, provided guidance during the data analysis, and assisted with the initial measurements. S.B.S. and A.C. assisted with the experimental set-up and data collection. L.F.D. and P.A. provided key insights and supervision during the experiments and analysis. D.K., R.R.J. and L.F.D. prepared the manuscript, which was discussed among all authors.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to R. R. Jones.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Kiesewetter, D., Jones, R., Camper, A. et al. Probing electronic binding potentials with attosecond photoelectron wavepackets. Nature Phys 14, 68–73 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys4279

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