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High-harmonic generation from solids


High-harmonic generation in atomic gases has been studied for decades, and has formed the basis of attosecond science. Observation of high-order harmonics from bulk crystals was, however, reported much more recently, in 2010. This Review surveys the subsequent efforts aimed at understanding the microscopic mechanism of solid-state harmonics in terms of what it can tell us about the electronic structure of the source materials, how it can be used to probe driven ultrafast dynamics and its prospects for novel, compact short-wavelength light sources. Although most of this work has focused on bulk materials as the source, recent experiments have investigated high-harmonic generation from engineered structures, which could form flexible platforms for attosecond photonics.

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Change history

  • 14 January 2019

    In the version of this Review Article originally published, in Fig. 2b, the label ‘Inter-band current’ should have read ‘Intra-band current’. This error has now been corrected in the online versions.


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This work is supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division, primarily through the Early Career Research Program (S.G.). D.A.R. was supported through AMOS programme.

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Correspondence to Shambhu Ghimire.

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Further reading

Fig. 1: High-order harmonic generation in ZnO crystals.
Fig. 2: Microscopic mechanisms for atomic and solid-state HHG.
Fig. 3: Recent progress in high harmonics from solids.
Fig. 4: CEP dependence of high-order harmonics from various solid materials.
Fig. 5: The use of engineered solid materials to generate and manipulate high harmonics.