High-harmonic generation driven by quantum light
High-harmonic generation is a process where intense coherent laser pulses interact with electrons in a gas or solid medium, resulting in attosecond light pulses. We, that is the groups of Ido Kaminer and Oren Cohen and our group at the Technion, have asked ourselves: What will happen if we replace the coherent laser pulses by nonclassical light?
This question seems academic, but recent developments in laser physics and quantum optics enable the generation of so-called bright squeezed vacuum (BSV). In this quantum state of light, the mean electric field is zero, but the fluctuations of the field are huge – so huge that HHG can be driven just by fluctuations! In our first theory work by Alexey Gorlach et al. in Nature Physics, we show that theoretically BSV-driven HHG results in higher HHG photon energies and higher efficiency. In a second theory work by Matan Even Tzur et al. in Nature Photonics, we demonstrate that if the coherent laser pulses are slightly squeezed, a new kind of force is emerging which distorts the electron dynamics and the attosecond light pulses – the “photon statistics force”.
Our research is building a bridge between strong-field physics and quantum optics, two fields that seem very different from each other. Stay tuned for further developments!