Numerical studies of light-matter interaction driven by plasmonic fields: The velocity gauge

A. Chacón, M. F. Ciappina, M. Lewenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Conventional theoretical approaches to model strong field phenomena driven by plasmonic fields are based on the length gauge formulation of the laser-matter coupling. Obviously, from the physical point of view, there exists no preferable gauge and, consequently, the predictions and outcomes should be independent of this choice. The use of the length gauge is mainly due to the fact that the quantity obtained from finite-element simulations of plasmonic fields is the plasmonic enhanced laser electric field rather than the laser vector potential. We develop, from first principles, the velocity gauge formulation of the problem and we apply it to the high-order-harmonic generation (HHG) in atoms. A comparison to the results obtained with the length gauge is made. As expected, it is analytically and numerically demonstrated that both gauges give equivalent descriptions of the emitted HHG spectra resulting from the interaction of a spatially inhomogeneous field and the single active electron model of the helium atom. We discuss, however, advantages and disadvantages of using different gauges in terms of numerical efficiency, which turns out to be very different. In order to understand it, we analyze the quantum mechanical results using time-frequency Gabor distributions. This analysis, combined with classical calculations based on solutions of the Newton equation, yields important physical insight into the electronic quantum paths underlying the dynamics of the harmonic generation process. The results obtained in this way also allow us to assess the quality of the quantum approaches in both gauges and put stringent limits on the numerical parameters required for a desired accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number063834
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 21 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


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