High-order harmonic generation in gases and solids

Project Title: Characterizing a single-cycle laser pulse for high-order harmonic generation

Principle Investigator: Michael Chini

Femtosecond laser pulses are generated using nonlinear optics in the LUMAS group.

Project Description: 
Research in the LUMAS (Laboratory for Ultrafast Metrology and Attoscience in Solids) group focuses on the application of ultrafast (femtosecond to attosecond) laser pulses to study the transient electronic structure of laser-excited materials. Our work focuses on understanding fundamental aspects of electronic interactions in strong electromagnetic fields in atoms, molecules, and solids, with the goal of leveraging this knowledge in technological applications. Specifically, we aim to use strong light-matter interactions intense laser pulses to dramatically modify material properties, ultimately creating new quantum states of matter with unique electronic and optical properties, and to probe the dynamic evolution of these states with attosecond precision.

Successful applicants interested in conducting summer projects within this group will learn fundamentals of experimental femtosecond laser optics, including nonlinear optics and frequency conversion, dispersion management and control, and a variety of laser characterization (spatial, frequency, and time-domain) techniques. The successful applicant will work closely with a diverse team of graduate and undergraduate students conducting research at the forefront of ultrafast laser-matter interactions, and will have the opportunity to develop an independent research project within the lab. Two projects are available in the LUMAS group, focusing on (1) characterizing the pulses emitted from a laser source capable of delivering single-cycle pulses, which is currently under development in our lab, and to use this laser source to generate coherent x-ray light pulses through high-order harmonic generation, and (2) generating high-order harmonics in novel materials, potentially including ferroelectric, ferromagnetic, insulator-to-metal, or other phase transition dynamics. In addition to the scientific objectives, the successful applicant will also gain valuable experience in laser safety, optical design, ultrahigh vacuum technology, and spectroscopy.