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Title: High harmonic generation using multicolour fields
Author: Hoffmann, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2713 4623
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis describes the phenomenon of high harmonic generation from atoms irradiated by intense, ultrashort laser pulses. Particular attention is paid to the benefits achieved by using multicolour driving fields. A theoretical description of few-cycle laser pulses is presented, together with their interaction with free-electrons and the role they play in various nonlinear optical processes. A number of numerical models are presented to simulate high harmonic generation from atomic systems. These are used to analyse and explain the temporal structure of the emitted high-frequency dipole radiation. Propagation of the macroscopic harmonic response through a gaseous volume is modelled and the role of phase-matching explained in detail. We consider focussing geometry in optimising the yield of particular harmonics, together with the effects of free-electrons within the interaction region. We discuss means by which multicolour fields may overcome some of the constraints of single-colour high harmonic generation. Using two delayed pulses of the same frequency and parallel polarisation we demonstrate significant cut-off extension without increasing total ionisation throughout the pulse, crucial for maintaining harmonic yield close to the saturation limit. We also explain the significant yield enhancements observed in recent experiments using two parallel colours of incommensurate frequency. Finally, we describe the use of a second, perpendicularly polarised colour in trajectory selection, allowing for a temporal filtering of harmonic emission. Using an ω + 1.5ω frequency ratio also allows for a reduction in the periodicity of emitted attosecond pulse trains, permitting the production of isolated attosecond pulses with longer driving fields. Furthermore, by controlling the relative phase between the two colours, the ellipticity of these attosecond pulses may also be controlled.
Supervisor: Marangos, Jonathan ; Ivanov, Misha Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral