Coherent extreme-ultraviolet emission generated through frustrated tunnelling ionization


Coherent extreme-ultraviolet emission can be obtained through high-harmonic generation and multiphoton excitation from atoms exposed to a strong laser field. We report the generation of a new kind of coherent extreme-ultraviolet emission from He atoms excited by intense few-cycle laser pulses. An atom can be excited after tunnelling in a strong laser field, in the process known as frustrated tunnelling ionization (FTI). We find that excitation through FTI leads to coherent extreme-ultraviolet emission, and its intensity strongly depends on the ellipticity and carrier-envelope phase of the laser pulses. Additionally, the propagation direction of the emission can be coherently controlled by employing the attosecond lighthouse technique. This coherent control of tunnelling and recombination dynamics, which has provided the fundamental basis of attosecond physics, promises the utilization of FTI emission as a coherent light source and offers new opportunities in ultrafast spectroscopy.

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Fig. 1: Generation mechanism for FTI emission.
Fig. 2: FTI emission obtained for different laser parameters.
Fig. 3: Wavefront rotation of FTI emission using a spatially chirped pulse.
Fig. 4: Coherent control of FTI emission using the attosecond lighthouse method.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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This work was supported by the Institute for Basic Science grant (IBS-R012-D1).

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H.Y., J.H.M. and K.T.K. conceived and designed the experiment. H.Y., J.H.M., S.I.H. and S.B.P. performed the experiment. H.Y., J.H.M., I.A.I. and K.T.K. analysed the experimental data. H.Y., J.H.M., C.H.N. and K.T.K. wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Kyung Taec Kim.

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Yun, H., Mun, J.H., Hwang, S.I. et al. Coherent extreme-ultraviolet emission generated through frustrated tunnelling ionization. Nature Photon 12, 620–624 (2018).

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