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Title: Interferometric spatio-temporal characterisation of ultrashort light pulses
Author: Mang, Matthias M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 3225
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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The main topic of this thesis is the development of novel diagnostics for the characterisation of infrared femtosecond and extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) attosecond pulses. High-resolution interferometric methods are applied to high harmonic radiation, both to measure the properties of the XUV light and to relate this information to the physics of the fundamental generation process. To do so, a complete high harmonic beamline has been built and optimised to enable the observation of strong signatures of the macroscopic response of the medium. The distinct spatial characteristics of long and short trajectories are studied, as well as the interference between them. An interferometric measurement allows the extraction of the atomic dipole phase, which gives direct access to the sub-cycle electron dynamics. A major focus of this thesis is on the development of a novel method which simultaneously characterises two independent electric fields as a function of any degree of freedom in which it is possible to shear one of the beams. Since each field alternately takes the role of the reference to retrieve the other field, this technique is referred to as mutual interferometric characterisation of electric-fields (MICE). One of the key features of MICE is that no sheared but otherwise identical replica of the test pulse needs to be generated, which is a typical requirement of self-referencing techniques. Furthermore, no a priori information is needed for the reconstruction. The strength and the wide applicability of MICE are demonstrated using two fundamentally different examples. First, the temporal pulse profiles of two infrared femtosecond pulses are simultaneously reconstructed in a single laser shot. In the second demonstration, the MICE approach is used to simultaneously reconstruct the wavefronts of two high harmonic beams. Having this new technique at hand, the phase properties of the different quantum trajectories are compared. All pulse characterisation techniques implicitly assume full coherence of the beam. This, however, is often not the case in practice, in particular when dealing with complex XUV light sources. Here the standard characterisation techniques fail to provide an accurate description of the electric field. Instead, the electric field must be seen as a statistical mixture of different contributions to the overall field. Here an interferometric experiment is first proposed and then performed involving multiple lateral shears to measure the two-point correlation function of high harmonic radiation. This directly provides information about the existence and the magnitude of partial coherence of high harmonics.
Supervisor: Walmsley, Ian A. Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Atomic and laser physics ; Optics ; Laser Science ; Ultrafast Science ; Interferometry ; X-Ray Science ; Attosecond science ; Femtosecond Science ; Ultrafast Metrology