Laser high-order harmonic generation in the presence of relatively weak interfering light is investigated. The interfering pulses intersect the primary harmonic-generating laser pulse at the laser focus. The interfering light creates a standing intensity and phase modulation on the field, which disrupts microscopic phase matching and shuts down local high harmonic production. Suppression of the 23rd harmonic (by two orders of magnitude) is observed when a counter-propagating interfering pulse of light is introduced. A sequence of counter-propagating pulses can be used to shut down harmonic production in out-of-phase zones of the generating volume to achieve quasi phase matching. Harmonic emission is enhanced in this case. A new high-power laser system with higher pulse energy has been constructed to further investigate quasi phase matching of high-order harmonics generated in difficult-to-ionize atomic gases (e.g., neon as opposed to argon). The new system can also be used to study harmonic generation in ions. A new counter-propagating beam produces a train of 5 pulses with regulated timing. In preliminary tests, the new system has produced high harmonics up to the 65th order in neon. This should increase with additional adjustments to the laser system. The high-order harmonics have also demonstrated to be useful for polarized reflectometry measurements of optical surfaces in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) wavelength range.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Physics and Astronomy



Date Submitted


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high harmonics, EUV, ultrafast photonics, chirped pulse amplification, conversion efficiency, femtosecond laser, reflectometer