Special Reviews

Attosecond Control and Measurement: Lightwave Electronics

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Science  10 Aug 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5839, pp. 769-775
DOI: 10.1126/science.1142855

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Electrons emit light, carry electric current, and bind atoms together to form molecules. Insight into and control of their atomic-scale motion are the key to understanding the functioning of biological systems, developing efficient sources of x-ray light, and speeding up electronics. Capturing and steering this electron motion require attosecond resolution and control, respectively (1 attosecond = 10–18 seconds). A recent revolution in technology has afforded these capabilities: Controlled light waves can steer electrons inside and around atoms, marking the birth of lightwave electronics. Isolated attosecond pulses, well reproduced and fully characterized, demonstrate the power of the new technology. Controlled few-cycle light waves and synchronized attosecond pulses constitute its key tools. We review the current state of lightwave electronics and highlight some future directions.

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