The generation of high harmonics from solid-density plasmas promises the production of attosecond (as) pulses orders of magnitude brighter than those from conventional rare gas sources. However, while spatial and spectral emission of surface harmonics has been characterized in detail in many experiments proof that the harmonic emission is indeed phase locked and thus bunched in as-pulses has only been delivered recently (Nomura et al 2009 Nat. Phys. 5 124-8). In this paper, we discuss the experimental setup of our extreme ultraviolet (XUV) autocorrelation (AC) device in detail and show the first two-photon ionization and subsequent AC experiment using solid target harmonics. In addition, we describe a simple analytical model to estimate the chirp between the individual generated harmonics in the sub- and mildly relativistic regime and validate it using particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations. Finally, we propose several methods applicable to surface harmonics to extend the temporal pulse characterization to higher photon energies and for the reconstruction of the spectral phase between the individual harmonics. The experiments described in this paper prove unambiguously that harmonic emission from solid-density plasmas indeed occurs as a train of sub- femtosecond pulses and thus fulfills the most important property for a next-generation as-pulse source of unprecedented brightness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)