Quantum-orbit analysis of above-threshold ionization driven by an intense spatially inhomogeneous field

T. Shaaran*, M. F. Ciappina, M. Lewenstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We perform a detailed analysis of above-threshold ionization (ATI) in atoms within the strong-field approximation by considering spatially inhomogeneous monochromatic laser fields. The locally enhanced field induced by resonance plasmons is an example for such inhomogeneous fields. We investigate how the individual pairs of quantum orbits contribute to the photoelectron spectra and the angular electron momentum distributions. We demonstrate that the quantum orbits have a very different behavior in the spatially inhomogeneous field when compared to the homogeneous field. In the case of inhomogeneous fields, the ionization and rescattering times differ between neighboring cycles, despite the field being monochromatic. Indeed, the contributions from one cycle may lead to a lower cutoff, while another may develop a higher cutoff. Within our model, we show that the ATI cutoff extends far beyond the semiclassical cutoff, as a function of inhomogeneity strength. Furthermore, the angular momentum distributions have very different features compared to the homogeneous case. For the neighboring cycles, the electron momentum distributions do not share the same absolute momentum, and they do not have the same yield.

Original languageEnglish
Article number053415
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 30 May 2013
Externally publishedYes


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