Attosecond interferometry with self-amplified spontaneous emission of a free-electron laser

Nat Commun. 2017 May 30;8:15626. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15626.


Light-phase-sensitive techniques, such as coherent multidimensional spectroscopy, are well-established in a broad spectral range, already spanning from radio-frequencies in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to visible and ultraviolet wavelengths in nonlinear optics with table-top lasers. In these cases, the ability to tailor the phases of electromagnetic waves with high precision is essential. Here we achieve phase control of extreme-ultraviolet pulses from a free-electron laser (FEL) on the attosecond timescale in a Michelson-type all-reflective interferometric autocorrelator. By varying the relative phase of the generated pulse replicas with sub-cycle precision we observe the field interference, that is, the light-wave oscillation with a period of 129 as. The successful transfer of a powerful optical method towards short-wavelength FEL science and technology paves the way towards utilization of advanced nonlinear methodologies even at partially coherent soft X-ray FEL sources that rely on self-amplified spontaneous emission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't