In recent years technologies were developed to generate pulses shorter than 5 fs and consisting of less than two optical cycles in full-width at half maximum (few-cycle pulses). The (quite often extremely) nonlinear interaction of such pulses with matter renders important only one or a fraction of one optical cycle. In recent months it became possible to stabilize the phase of the carrier with respect to the pulse envelope (“absolute” phase) for powerful few-cycle pulses. Almost at the same time the absolute phase has been measured and controlled thus tailoring the temporal evolution of single optical cycles. First experiments investigating photoionization were performed and showed a wealth of information inaccessible so far.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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