Abstract: As ultrafast laser technology advances towards ever higher peak and average powers, generating sub-50 fs pulses from laser architectures that exhibit best power-scaling capabilities remains a major challenge. Here, we present a very compact and highly robust method to compress 1.24 ps pulses to 39 fs by means of only a single spectral broadening stage which neither requires vacuum parts nor custom-made optics. Our approach is based on the hybridization of the multiplate continuum and the multipass cell spectral broadening techniques. Their combination leads to significantly higher spectral broadening factors in bulk material than what has been reported from either method alone. Moreover, our approach efficiently suppresses adverse features of single-pass bulk spectral broadening. We use a burst-mode Yb:YAG laser emitting pulses with 80 MW peak power that are enhanced to more than 1 GW after postcompression. With only 0.19% rms pulse-to-pulse energy fluctuations, the technique exhibits excellent stability. Furthermore, we have measured state-of-the-art spectral-spatial homogeneity and good beam quality of M^2=1.2 up to a spectral broadening factor of 30. Due to the method’s simplicity, compactness, and scalability, it is highly attractive for turning a picosecond laser into an ultrafast light source that generates pulses of only a few tens of femtoseconds duration.
Abstract: Terahertz radiation with a Bessel beam profile is demonstrated experimentally from a two-color laser filament in air, which is induced by tailored femtosecond laser pulses with an axicon. The temporal and spatial distributions of Bessel rings of the terahertz radiation are retrieved after being collected in the far field. A theoretical model is proposed, which suggests that such Bessel terahertz pulses are produced due to the combined effects of the inhomogeneous superluminal filament structure and the phase change of the two-color laser components inside the plasma channel. These two effects lead to wavefront crossover and constructive/destructive interference of terahertz radiation from different plasma sources along the laser filament, respectively. Compared with other methods, our technique can support the generation of Bessel pulses with broad spectral bandwidth. Such Bessel pulses can propagate to the far field without significant spatial spreading, which shall provide new opportunities for terahertz applications.
Abstract: High-repetition rate attosecond pulse sources are indispensable tools for time-resolved studies of electron dynamics, such as coincidence spectroscopy and experiments with high demands on statistics or signal-to-noise ratio, especially in the case of solid and big molecule samples in chemistry and biology. Although with the high-repetition rate lasers, such attosecond pulses in a pump-probe configuration are possible to achieve, until now, only a few such light sources have been demonstrated. Here, by shaping the driving laser to an annular beam, a 100 kHz attosecond pulse train (APT) is reported with the highest energy so far (51 pJ/shot) on target (269 pJ at generation) among the high-repetition rate systems (>10 kHz) in which the attosecond pulses were temporally characterized. The on-target pulse energy is maximized by reducing the losses from the reflections and filtering of the high harmonics, and an unprecedented 19% transmission rate from the generation point to the target position is achieved. At the same time, the probe beam is also annular and low loss of this beam is reached by using another holey mirror to combine with the APT. The advantages of using an annular beam to generate attosecond pulses with a high-average power laser are demonstrated experimentally and theoretically. The effect of nonlinear propagation in the generation medium on the annular-beam generation concept is also analyzed in detail.
The ELI-ALPS project (GINOP-2.3.6-15-2015-00001) is supported by the European Union and cofinanced by the European Regional Development Fund.