Isolated Single-Cycle Attosecond Pulses

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Science  20 Oct 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5798, pp. 443-446
DOI: 10.1126/science.1132838

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We generated single-cycle isolated attosecond pulses around ∼36 electron volts using phase-stabilized 5-femtosecond driving pulses with a modulated polarization state. Using a complete temporal characterization technique, we demonstrated the compression of the generated pulses for as low as 130 attoseconds, corresponding to less than 1.2 optical cycles. Numerical simulations of the generation process show that the carrier-envelope phase of the attosecond pulses is stable. The availability of single-cycle isolated attosecond pulses opens the way to a new regime in ultrafast physics, in which the strong-field electron dynamics in atoms and molecules is driven by the electric field of the attosecond pulses rather than by their intensity profile.

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