Attosecond physics at the nanoscale

M. F. Ciappina, J. A. Pérez-Hernández, A. S. Landsman, W. A. Okell, S. Zherebtsov, B. Förg, J. Schötz, L. Seiffert, T. Fennel, T. Shaaran, T. Zimmermann, A. Chacón, R. Guichard, A. Zaïr, J. W.G. Tisch, J. P. Marangos, T. Witting, A. Braun, S. A. Maier, L. RosoM. Krüger, P. Hommelhoff, M. F. Kling, F. Krausz, M. Lewenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently two emerging areas of research, attosecond and nanoscale physics, have started to come together. Attosecond physics deals with phenomena occurring when ultrashort laser pulses, with duration on the femto- and sub-femtosecond time scales, interact with atoms, molecules or solids. The laser-induced electron dynamics occurs natively on a timescale down to a few hundred or even tens of attoseconds (1 attosecond = 1 as = 10-18 s), which is comparable with the optical field. For comparison, the revolution of an electron on a 1s orbital of a hydrogen atom is ∼152 as. On the other hand, the second branch involves the manipulation and engineering of mesoscopic systems, such as solids, metals and dielectrics, with nanometric precision. Although nano-engineering is a vast and well-established research field on its own, the merger with intense laser physics is relatively recent. In this report on progress we present a comprehensive experimental and theoretical overview of physics that takes place when short and intense laser pulses interact with nanosystems, such as metallic and dielectric nanostructures. In particular we elucidate how the spatially inhomogeneous laser induced fields at a nanometer scale modify the laser-driven electron dynamics. Consequently, this has important impact on pivotal processes such as above-threshold ionization and high-order harmonic generation. The deep understanding of the coupled dynamics between these spatially inhomogeneous fields and matter configures a promising way to new avenues of research and applications. Thanks to the maturity that attosecond physics has reached, together with the tremendous advance in material engineering and manipulation techniques, the age of atto-nanophysics has begun, but it is in the initial stage. We present thus some of the open questions, challenges and prospects for experimental confirmation of theoretical predictions, as well as experiments aimed at characterizing the induced fields and the unique electron dynamics initiated by them with high temporal and spatial resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number054401
JournalReports on Progress in Physics
Volume80
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • attosecond physics
  • plasmonic fields
  • strong field physics

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