We report an experimental technique for the comparison of ionization processes in ultrafast laser pulses irrespective of pulse ellipticity. Multiple ionization of xenon by 50 fs 790 nm, linearly and circularly polarized laser pulses is observed over the intensity range 10 TW/cm(2) to 10 PW/cm(2) using effective intensity matching (EIM), which is coupled with intensity selective scanning (ISS) to recover the geometry-independent probability of ionization. Such measurements, made possible by quantifying diffraction effects in the laser focus, are compared directly to theoretical predictions of multiphoton, tunnel and field ionization, and a remarkable agreement demonstrated. EIM-ISS allows the straightforward quantification of the probability of recollision ionization in a linearly polarized laser pulse. Furthermore, the probability of ionization is discussed in terms of the Keldysh adiabaticity parameter gamma, and the influence of the precursor ionic states present in recollision ionization is observed.
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Physics and Astronomy(all)