Abstract

Coherent-wake plasma emission induced by ultrashort mid-infrared laser pulses on a solid target is shown to give rise to high-brightness, high-order harmonic radiation, offering a promising source of attosecond pulses and a probe for ultrafast subrelativistic plasma dynamics. With 80-fs, 0.2-TW pulses of 3.9-μm radiation used as a driver, optical harmonics up to the 34th order are detected, with their spectra stretching from the mid-infrared region to the extreme ultraviolet region. The harmonic spectrum is found to be highly sensitive to the chirp of the driver. Particle-in-cell analysis of this effect suggests, in agreement with the generic scenario of coherent-wake emission, that optical harmonics are radiated as trains of extremely short, attosecond ultraviolet pulses with a pulse-to-pulse interval varying over the pulse train. A positive chirp of the driver pulse can partially compensate for this variation in the interpulse separation, allowing harmonics of the highest orders to be generated in the plasma emission spectrum.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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