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Attosecond electron motion control in dielectric


Attosecond science capitalizes on the extreme nonlinearity of strong fields—driven by few-cycle pulses—to attain attosecond temporal resolution and give access to the electron motion dynamics of matter in real time. Here we measured the relative electronic delay response of a dielectric system triggered by a strong field of few-cycle pulses to be of the order of a few hundred attoseconds. Moreover, we exploited the electronic response following the strong driver field to demonstrate all-optical light-field-sampling methodology with attosecond resolution. This methodology provides a direct connection between the driver field and induced ultrafast dynamics in matter. Also, we demonstrate control of electron motion in a dielectric using synthesized light waveforms. This on-demand control of electron motion paves the way for establishing long-anticipated ultrafast switches and quantum electronics. This advancement promises to increase the limiting speed of data processing and information encoding to rates that exceed one petabit per second, opening a new realm of information technology.

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Fig. 1: Light-field-induced electron motion in a dielectric.
Fig. 2: Electronic delay response in SiO2 dielectric system.
Fig. 3: All-optical light-field-sampling methodology.
Fig. 4: Attosecond control of electron motion for ultrafast switching.

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Data availability

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

Code availability

The analysis codes that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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This project is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation grant GBMF7938 to M.T.H. This material is also based on work partially supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under award no. FA9550-19-1-0025. This research is partly supported by JST-CREST under grant no. JP-MJCR16N5 to K.Y., by MEXT Quantum Leap Flagship Program (MEXT Q-LEAP) under grant no. JPMXS0118068681. Calculations are carried out at Oakforest-PACS at JCAHPC with support through the HPCI System Research Project (project ID: hp20034) and Multidisciplinary Cooperative Research Program in CCS, University of Tsukuba.

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Authors and Affiliations



H.A. and D.H. conducted the experiments and analysed the data. S.Y. and K.Y. carried out the simulations and calculations. V.P. designed and measured the optics of the LFS. M.T.H. conceived, supervised and directed the study. All the authors discussed the results and their interpretations and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Mohammed Th. Hassan.

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Peer review information Nature Photonics thanks Shambhu Ghimire and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–5 and Sections 1–4.

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Source Data Fig. 2

Statistical source data for Fig. 2.

Source Data Fig. 3

Statistical source data for Fig. 3.

Source Data Fig. 4

Statistical source data for Fig. 4.

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Hui, D., Alqattan, H., Yamada, S. et al. Attosecond electron motion control in dielectric. Nat. Photon. 16, 33–37 (2022).

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