Abstract

Controlling coherence and interference of quantum states is one of the central goals in quantum science. Different from energetically discrete quantum states, however, it remains a demanding task to visualize coherent properties of degenerate states (e.g., magnetic sublevels). It becomes further inaccessible in the absence of an external perturbation (e.g., Zeeman effect). Here, we present a theoretical analysis of all-optical control of degenerate magnetic states in the molecular hydrogen ion, $ {\rm H}_2^ + $, by using two time-delayed co- and counterrotating circularly polarized attosecond extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) pulses. We perform accurate simulations to examine this model by solving the three-dimensional time-dependent Schrödinger equation. A counterintuitive phenomenon of quantum interference between degenerate magnetic sublevels appears in the time-dependent electronic probability density, which is observable by using x-ray-induced transient angular and energy-resolved photoelectron spectra. This work provides an insight into quantum interference of electron dynamics inside molecules at the quantum degeneracy level.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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