Synthesis and Measurement of Ultrafast Waveforms from Five Discrete Optical Harmonics

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Science  20 Jan 2011:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1198397


To achieve the control of light fields in a manner similar in sophistication to the control of electromagnetic fields in the microwave and radio-frequency regimes has been a major challenge in optical physics research. Here, we manipulate the phase and amplitude of five discrete harmonics spanning the blue to mid-infrared frequencies to produce instantaneous optical fields in the shape of square, sawtooth, and subcycle sine and cosine pulses at a repetition rate of 125 THz. We furthermore describe an all-optical shaper-assisted linear cross correlation technique to retrieve these fields and thereby verify their shapes and confirm the critical role of carrier-envelope phase in Fourier synthesis of optical waveforms.