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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Two-dimensional phase cartography for high-harmonic spectroscopy


Extremely nonlinear spectroscopy based on high-order-harmonic generation has become a powerful investigation method for attosecond dynamics in gas and solid targets. In particular, the phase of harmonic emission was shown to carry profound insight into atomic and molecular structure and dynamics. However, current techniques offer phase measurements only along specific directions, thus providing partial characterization. Here we report on a new approach combining optical and quantum interferometers measuring along two dimensions the intensity and phase of harmonic emission from aligned molecules in the exact same experimental conditions. This two-dimensional cartography technique measures the phase with no arbitrary offset and no uncertainty on its sign. Measurements along different dimensions can be combined in two ways: either a single mapping or a redundant mapping allowing high-precision phase recovery using a Shack–Hartmann-like algorithm. We demonstrate both methods in a nitrogen test case, which allows disentangling structural and dynamical effects. Two-dimensional phase cartography paves the way to high-resolution high-harmonic spectroscopy for applications such as quantum orbital tomography and attosecond charge migration in molecules.

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