Science & Technology

Nanostructures Enable Record High-Harmonic Generation From Ultra-Intense Laser Pulses

Illustration of an infrared laser hitting a gallium-phosphide metsurface, which effectively produces even and odd high-harmonic technology. Credit score: Daniil Shilkin

Cornell researchers have developed nanostructures that allow record-breaking conversion of laser pulses into high-harmonic technology, paving the best way for brand new scientific instruments for high-resolution imaging and finding out bodily processes that happen on the scale of an attosecond – one quintillionth of a second.

Excessive-harmonic technology has lengthy been used to merge photons from a pulsing laser into one, ultrashort photon with a lot increased vitality, producing excessive ultraviolet mild and X-rays used for quite a lot of scientific functions. Historically, gases have been used as sources of harmonics, however a analysis staff led by Gennady Shvets, professor of utilized and engineering physics within the School of Engineering, has proven that engineered nanostructures have a brilliant future for this utility.

The analysis is detailed within the paper “Generation of Even and Odd Excessive Harmonics in Resonant Metasurfaces Utilizing Single and A number of Ultra-Intense Laser Pulses,” revealed on July 7, 2021, in Nature Communications. Maxim Shcherbakov, who performed the analysis as a Cornell postdoctoral affiliate earlier than changing into an assistant professor on the College of California, Irvine, is the lead writer.

The nanostructures created by the staff make up an ultrathin resonant gallium-phosphide metasurface that overcomes most of the standard issues related to high-harmonic technology in gases and different solids. The gallium-phosphide materials permits harmonics of all orders with out reabsorbing them, and the specialised construction can work together with the laser pulse’s whole mild spectrum.

“Attaining this required engineering of the metasurface’s construction utilizing full-wave simulations,” Shcherbakov mentioned. “We rigorously chosen the parameters of the gallium-phosphide particles to satisfy this situation, after which it took a customized nanofabrication stream to carry it to mild.”

The result’s nanostructures able to producing each even and odd harmonics – a limitation of most different harmonic supplies – masking a variety of photon energies between 1.3 and three electron volts. The record-breaking conversion effectivity permits scientists to look at molecular and digital dynamics inside a fabric with only one laser shot, serving to to protect samples which will in any other case be degraded by a number of high-powered photographs.

The research is the primary to look at high-harmonic generated radiation from a single laser pulse, which allowed the metasurface to resist excessive powers – 5 to 10 occasions increased than beforehand proven in different metasurfaces.

“It opens up new alternatives to review matter at ultrahigh fields, a regime not readily accessible earlier than,” Shcherbakov mentioned. “With our methodology, we envision that folks can research supplies past metasurfaces, together with however not restricted to crystals, 2D supplies, single atoms, synthetic atomic lattices and different quantum programs.”

Now that the analysis staff has demonstrated the benefits of utilizing nanostructures for high-harmonic technology, it hopes to enhance high-harmonic gadgets and services by stacking the nanostructures collectively to exchange a solid-state supply, corresponding to crystals.

Reference: “Generation of even and odd excessive harmonics in resonant metasurfaces utilizing single and a number of ultra-intense laser pulses” by Maxim R. Shcherbakov, Haizhong Zhang, Michael Tripepi, Giovanni Sartorello, Noah Talisa, Abdallah AlShafey, Zhiyuan Fan, Justin Twardowski, Leonid A. Krivitsky, Arseniy I. Kuznetsov, Enam Chowdhury and Gennady Shvets, 7 July 2021, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-24450-9

Co-authors embody Cornell postdoctoral researchers Zhiyuan Fan and Giovanni Sartorello, and researchers from the Ohio State College and the Institute of Supplies Analysis and Engineering in Singapore.

The analysis was funded by the Workplace of Naval Analysis, the Cornell Heart for Supplies Analysis by means of the Nationwide Science Basis’s Supplies Analysis Science and Engineering Facilities program, and the Air Drive Workplace of Scientific Analysis.

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