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Single-pass high harmonic generation at high repetition rate and photon flux

: Hädrich, S.; Rothhardt, J.; Krebs, M.; Demmler, S.; Klenke, A.; Tünnermann, A.; Limpert, J.


Journal of Physics. B, Atomic, molecular and optical physics 49 (2016), No.17, Art. 172002, 26 pp.
ISSN: 0022-3700
ISSN: 0953-4075
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IOF ()

Sources of short wavelength radiation with femtosecond to attosecond pulse durations, such as synchrotrons or free electron lasers, have already made possible numerous, and will facilitate more, seminal studies aimed at understanding atomic and molecular processes on fundamental length and time scales. Table-top sources of coherent extreme ultraviolet to soft x-ray radiation enabled by high harmonic generation (HHG) of ultrashort pulse lasers have also gained significant attention in the last few years due to their enormous potential for addressing a plethora of applications, therefore constituting a complementary source to large-scale facilities (synchrotrons and free electron lasers). Ti:sapphire based laser systems have been the workhorses for HHG for decades, but are limited in repetition rate and average power. On the other hand, it has been widely recognized that fostering applications in fields such as photoelectron spectroscopy and microscopy, coincidence detection, coherent diffractive imaging and frequency metrology requires a high repetition rate and high photon flux HHG sources. In this article we will review recent developments in realizing the demanding requirement of producing a high photon flux and repetition rate at the same time. Particular emphasis will be put on suitable ultrashort pulse and high average power lasers, which directly drive harmonic generation without the need for external enhancement cavities. To this end we describe two complementary schemes that have been successfully employed for high power fiber lasers, i.e. optical parametric chirped pulse amplifiers and nonlinear pulse compression. Moreover, the issue of phase-matching in tight focusing geometries will be discussed and connected to recent experiments. We will highlight the latest results in fiber laser driven high harmonic generation that currently produce the highest photon flux of all existing sources. In addition, we demonstrate the first promising applications and discuss the future direction and challenges of this new type of HHG source.