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Attosecond transient absorption of argon atoms in the vacuum ultraviolet region: line energy shifts versus coherent population transfer


Using attosecond transient absorption, the dipole response of an argon atom in the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) region is studied when an external electromagnetic field is present. An isolated attosecond VUV pulse populates Rydberg states lying 15 eV above the argon ground state. A synchronized few-cycle near infrared (NIR) pulse modifies the oscillating dipoles of argon impulsively, leading to alterations in the VUV absorption spectra. As the NIR pulse is delayed with respect to the VUV pulse, multiple features in the absorption profile emerge simultaneously including line broadening, sideband structure, sub-cycle fast modulations, and 5-10 fs slow modulations. These features indicate the coexistence of two general processes of the light-matter interaction: the energy shift of individual atomic levels and coherent population transfer between atomic eigenstates, revealing coherent superpositions. An intuitive formula is derived to treat both effects in a unifying framework, allowing one to identify and quantify the two processes in a single absorption spectrogram.

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