"Observation of high-order harmonic generation in a bulk crystal"

Shambhu Ghimire: Anthony D. DiChiara, Emily Sistrunk, Pierre Agostini, Louis F. DiMauro and David A. Reis; Nature Physics, 02/15/11.

Additional Authors: Anthony D. DiChiara, Emily Sistrunk, Pierre Agostini, Louis F. DiMauro and David A. Reis

Abstract:

Harmonic generation is a general feature of driven nonlinear systems. In particular high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in atomic gases1 is the basis for producing attosecond pulses2, 3. In molecules and clusters, the existence of multiple ionization and recombination sites makes for richer dynamics allowing imaging of molecular orbitals4, 5, higher conversion efficiency6 and the possibility of extending the high-energy cutoff7. In the strong-field limit, HHG in bulk crystals is fundamentally different from that in the atomic case owing to the high density and periodic structure. Here we present the first observation of HHG in a bulk crystalline solid using a long-wavelength few-cycle laser. The harmonics spectra extend well beyond the band edge of the ZnO crystal, show a clear non-perturbative character and exhibit a cutoff that scales linearly with the electric field of the drive laser. Our results have important implications for the understanding of attosecond electron dynamics and other non-equilibrium band-structure-related phenomena in strongly driven bulk solids.