The availability of high-energy pulses with durations shorter than the period of their carrier frequency (sub-cycle) will reveal new regimes of strong-field light–matter interactions. Parametric waveform synthesis (that is, the coherent combination of carrier-envelope-phase-stable pulses that emerge from different optical parametric amplifiers) is a promising technology for the realization of tailored optical waveforms with scalable spectral bandwidth, energy and average power. Here we use parametric waveform synthesis to generate phase-controlled sub-cycle waveforms at the millijoule energy level with excellent stability. Full control over the synthesized waveforms (currently spanning 1.7 octaves with full-width at half-maximum durations down to 2.8 fs, that is, 0.6 optical cycles at a central wavelength of 1.4 μm) enables the creation of extreme ultraviolet isolated attosecond pulses via high-harmonic generation without the need for additional gating techniques. The synthesized electric field is directly measured by attosecond-resolution sampling, which also showcases the waveform stability.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Open Access articles citing this article.
Nature Communications Open Access 19 June 2023
Nature Communications Open Access 27 October 2022
Intense isolated attosecond pulses from two-color few-cycle laser driven relativistic surface plasma
Scientific Reports Open Access 11 August 2022
Access Nature and 54 other Nature Portfolio journals
Get Nature+, our best-value online-access subscription
$29.99 / 30 days
cancel any time
Subscribe to this journal
Receive 12 print issues and online access
$209.00 per year
only $17.42 per issue
Rent or buy this article
Prices vary by article type
Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout
The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
The code that supports the plots within this paper and other findings of this study is available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
Corkum, P. B. & Krausz, F. Attosecond science. Nat. Phys 3, 381–387 (2007).
Calegari, F. et al. Ultrafast electron dynamics in phenylalanine initiated by attosecond pulses. Science 346, 336–339 (2014).
Hassan, M. T. et al. Optical attosecond pulses and tracking the nonlinear response of bound electrons. Nature 530, 66–70 (2016).
Beaulieu, S. et al. Attosecond-resolved photoionization of chiral molecules. Science 358, 1288–1294 (2017).
Levin, L. et al. Coherent control of bond making. Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 233003 (2015).
Golubev, N. V. & Kuleff, A. I. Control of charge migration in molecules by ultrashort laser pulses. Phys. Rev. A 91, 051401 (2015).
Wimmer, L. et al. Terahertz control of nanotip photoemission. Nat. Phys. 10, 432–436 (2014).
Wang, W. T. et al. High-brightness high-energy electron beams from a laser wakefield accelerator via energy chirp control. Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 124801 (2016).
Kim, H. T. et al. Stable multi-GeV electron accelerator driven by waveform-controlled PW laser pulses. Sci. Rep. 7, 10203 (2017).
Guénot, D. et al. Relativistic electron beams driven by kHz single-cycle light pulses. Nat. Photon. 11, 293–296 (2017).
Zhang, D. et al. Segmented terahertz electron accelerator and manipulator (STEAM). Nat. Photon. 12, 336–342 (2018).
Sansone, G. et al. Isolated single-cycle attosecond pulses. Science 314, 443–446 (2006).
Gaumnitz, T. et al. Streaking of 43-attosecond soft-X-ray pulses generated by a passively CEP-stable mid-infrared driver. Opt. Express 25, 27506–27518 (2017).
Chang, Z. Controlling attosecond pulse generation with a double optical gating. Phys. Rev. A 76, 051403 (2007).
Abel, M. J. et al. Isolated attosecond pulses from ionization gating of high-harmonic emission. Chem. Phys. 366, 9–14 (2009).
Hammond, T. J., Brown, G. G., Kim, K. T., Villeneuve, D. M. & Corkum, P. B. Attosecond pulses measured from the attosecond lighthouse. Nat. Photon 10, 171–175 (2016).
Chipperfield, L. E., Robinson, J. S., Tisch, J. W. G. & Marangos, J. P. Ideal waveform to generate the maximum possible electron recollision energy for any given oscillation period. Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 063003 (2009).
Wu, J., Zhang, G.-T., Xia, C.-L. & Liu, X.-S. Control of the high-order harmonics cutoff and attosecond pulse generation through the combination of a chirped fundamental laser and a subharmonic laser field. Phys. Rev. A 82, 013411 (2010).
Jin, C., Wang, G., Wei, H., Le, A. T. & Lin, C. D. Waveforms for optimal sub-keV high-order harmonics with synthesized two- or three-colour laser fields. Nat. Commun. 5, 4003 (2014).
Chou, Y., Li, P.-C., Ho, T.-S. & Chu, S.-I. Optimal control of high-order harmonics for the generation of an isolated ultrashort attosecond pulse with two-color midinfrared laser fields. Phys. Rev. A 91, 063408 (2015).
Tate, J. et al. Scaling of wave-packet dynamics in an intense midinfrared field. Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 013901 (2007).
Heyl, C. M., Arnold, C. L., Couairon, A. & L’Huillier, A. Introduction to macroscopic power scaling principles for high-order harmonic generation. J. Phys. B 50, 013001 (2017).
Popmintchev, T. et al. Phase matching of high harmonic generation in the soft and hard X-ray regions of the spectrum. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 106, 10516–10521 (2009).
Teichmann, S. M., Silva, F., Cousin, S. L., Hemmer, M. & Biegert, J. 0.5-keV Soft X-ray attosecond continua. Nat. Commun. 7, 11493 (2016).
Wirth, A. et al. Synthesized light transients. Science 334, 195–200 (2011).
Harth, A. et al. Two-color pumped OPCPA system emitting spectra spanning 1.5 octaves from VIS to NIR. Opt. Express 20, 3076–3081 (2012).
Schmidt, B. E. et al. Frequency domain optical parametric amplification. Nat. Commun. 5, 3643 (2014).
Huang, S.-W. et al. High-energy pulse synthesis with sub-cycle waveform control for strong-field physics. Nat. Photon. 5, 475–479 (2011).
Manzoni, C. et al. Coherent synthesis of ultra-broadband optical parametric amplifiers. Opt. Lett. 37, 1880–1882 (2012).
Fattahi, H. et al. Third-generation femtosecond technology. Optica 1, 45–63 (2014).
Liang, H. et al. High-energy mid-infrared sub-cycle pulse synthesis from a parametric amplifier. Nat. Commun. 8, 141 (2017).
Brida, D. et al. Few-optical-cycle pulses tunable from the visible to the mid-infrared by optical parametric amplifiers. J. Opt. 12, 013001 (2010).
Baltuška, A., Fuji, T. & Kobayashi, T. Controlling the carrier-envelope phase of ultrashort light pulses with optical parametric amplifiers. Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 133901 (2002).
Manzoni, C. & Cerullo, G. Design criteria for ultrafast optical parametric amplifiers. J. Opt. 18, 103501 (2016).
Rossi, G. M. et al. CEP dependence of signal and idler upon pump-seed synchronization in optical parametric amplifiers. Opt. Lett. 43, 178–181 (2018).
Brida, D. et al. Sub-two-cycle light pulses at 1.6 μm from an optical parametric amplifier. Opt. Lett. 33, 741–743 (2008).
Birge, J. R., Ell, R. & Kärtner, F. X. Two-dimensional spectral shearing interferometry for few-cycle pulse characterization. Opt. Lett. 31, 2063–2065 (2006).
Mücke, O. D. et al. Toward waveform nonlinear optics using multimillijoule sub-cycle waveform synthesizers. J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 21, 8700712 (2015).
Chia, S.-H. et al. Two-octave-spanning dispersion-controlled precision optics for sub-opticalcycle waveform synthesizers. Optica 1, 315–322 (2014).
Mairesse, Y. & Quéré, F. Frequency-resolved optical gating for complete reconstruction of attosecond bursts. Phys. Rev. A 71, 011401 (2005).
Keathley, P. D., Bhardwaj, S., Moses, J., Laurent, G. & Kärtner, F. X. Volkov transform generalized projection algorithm for attosecond pulse characterization. New J. Phys. 18, 073009 (2016).
Kim, K. T. et al. Petahertz optical oscilloscope. Nat. Photon. 7, 958–962 (2013).
Wyatt, A. S. et al. Attosecond sampling of arbitrary optical waveforms. Optica 3, 303–310 (2016).
Gagnon, J. & Yakovlev, V. S. The direct evaluation of attosecond chirp from a streaking measurement. Appl. Phys. B 103, 303–309 (2011).
Gustas, D. et al. High-charge relativistic electron bunches from a kHz laser-plasma accelerator. Phys. Rev. Accel. Beams 21, 013401 (2018).
Lifschitz, A. F. & Malka, V. Optical phase effects in electron wakefield acceleration using few-cycle laser pulses. New J. Phys. 14, 053045 (2012).
Putnam, W. P., Hobbs, R. G., Keathley, P. D., Berggren, K. K. & Kärtner, F. X. Optical-field-controlled photoemission from plasmonic nanoparticles. Nat. Phys 13, 335–339 (2017).
Liu, K., Zhang, Q. & Lu, P. Enhancing electron localization in molecular dissociation by two-color mid- and near-infrared laser fields. Phys. Rev. A 86, 033410 (2012).
Nicoletti, D. & Cavalleri, A. Nonlinear lightmatter interaction at terahertz frequencies. Adv. Opt. Photon. 8, 401–464 (2016).
We gratefully acknowledge support from Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) of the Helmholtz Association, from the Cluster of Excellence ‘CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter’ of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)—EXC 2056—project ID 390715994 and from the priority programme ‘Quantum Dynamics in Tailored Intense Fields’ (QUTIF) (SPP1840 SOLSTICE) of the DFG. We thank H. Cankaya and L. Wang for many valuable discussions and theory support.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Rossi, G.M., Mainz, R.E., Yang, Y. et al. Sub-cycle millijoule-level parametric waveform synthesizer for attosecond science. Nat. Photonics 14, 629–635 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-020-0659-0
This article is cited by
Nature Communications (2023)
Nature Reviews Physics (2023)
Nature Photonics (2022)
Nature Communications (2022)
Scientific Reports (2022)