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Publications by
Björn Landgraf

All publications of HI Jena


Z. Samsonova, S. Höfer, A. Hoffmann, B. Landgraf, M. Zürch, I. Uschmann, D. Khaghani, O. Rosmej, P. Neumayer, R. Röder, L. Trefflich, C. Ronning, E. Förster, C. Spielmann, and D. Kartashov
X-ray emission generated by laser-produced plasmas from dielectric nanostructured targets
AIP Conference Proceedings 1811, 180001 (2017)

Abstract: We present an experimental study of X-ray generation from nanostructured ZnO targets. Samples of different morphology ranging from nanowires to polished surfaces are irradiated by relativistically intense femtosecond laser pulses. X-ray emission of plasma is generated by 45 fs 130 mJ laser pulses at 400 nm with picosecond temporal contrast better than 1E−9 interacting with an array of ZnO nanowires. The measured spectra indicate the existence of highly ionized states of Zn (up to He-like Zn). The obtained flux of ∼1E10 photons per laser shot at the neutral Zn Kα energies around 8.65 keV and at the Zn Heα energies around 9 keV is almost 3 times higher for nanostructured targets compared to the reference polished sample and implies 1E−4 conversion efficiency from the laser energy to the total energy of the emitted X-ray photons.

B. Landgraf
Stimulated Raman backscattering in transient laser generated plasmas with ultra-short seed pulses
Doctoral thesis
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Physikalisch-Astronomische Fakultät (2017)

Abstract: Stimulated Raman backscattering (SRBS) is a promising concept to create ultra-intense laser pulses. State-of-the-art SRBS experiments find best conditions close to the Langmuir wave-breaking limit, which is one reason, why it cannot be applied at high energy class systems, as focal lengths of hundreds of meters would be necessary. A solution is offered, if the scheme can be transferred to high pump intensities in the strong wave-breaking regime. One of the dominant competitors of SRBS at high intensities is Langmuir wave-breaking, which increases significantly at 10^{14} W/cm^2. Recent studies propose the existence of a time frame in which wave-breaking starts, but is too slow to dephase the electron distribution resulting in efficient amplification with ultra-short seed pulses. In this work SRBS, in transient plasma distributions is demonstrated leading to broadband amplification of up to 80 nm. To understand the temporal dynamics, particle in cell (PIC) simulations are performed. The highest conversion efficiency of up to 1.2 % is found at 5 x 10^{15} W/cm^2, which corresponds to the strong wave-breaking regime. At even higher intensities efficiency drops again, resulting in a lower average efficiency, but conserving its transform limited pulse duration.
After wave-breaking at high intensities a decrease of the pulse energy is observed. To minimize this effect $\mu$m-sized nozzle orifices are manufactured for perfect matching between overlap length and plasma dimension achieving the best conversion efficiency of 2.3 % in this work. To explore static linear density gradients, trapezoid shaped nozzle orifices are sintered by a 3D printer. They provide exceptional stability and an SRBS spectrum of up to 30 nm bandwidth, which should only be accessible in the non-linear case. PIC simulations agree very well with negative density gradients (pump frame), which can partly compensate the pump chirp. Spectral features in the PIC simulation related to the absence of wave-breaking are not observed, possibly pointing to higher dimensional effects. There is no agreement of 1D PIC simulations and positive gradients in two consecutive experiments, which reinforces the thesis, that higher dimensional PIC simulations are necessary. One candidate for two dimensional mechanisms limiting SRBS efficiency is identified as angular chirp whose influence is extrapolated. This potentially allows the conversion efficiency to be increased by a factor of two. By inserting two glass wedges inside the seed setup, it is possible to change the pulse duration by dispersion. A strong correlation between efficiency function and pulse duration is found, where the former oscillates with the plasma period. This important feature has consequences for future experiments trying to explore the coherent wave breaking regime as it is not only necessary to achieve a sufficient growth time, but now also higher plasma densities are necessary for sub-20 fs seed pulses.


B. Landgraf, B. Aurand, G. Lehmann, T. Gangolf, M. Schnell, T. Kühl, and C. Spielmann
Broadband stimulated Raman backscattering
New Journal of Physics 18, 073048 (2016)

Abstract: Broadband amplification employing stimulated Raman backscattering is demonstrated. Using seed pulses with a bandwidth of about 200 nm, we study the amplification in a wide spectral range in a single laser shot. With chirped pump pulses and a Ne gas jet, we observed under optimized conditions, amplification in range of about 80 nm, which is sufficient to support the amplification of sub-20 fs pulses. This broad amplification range is also in excellent agreement with PIC simulations. The conversion efficiency is at certain wavelengths as high as 1.2% and was measured to be better than 6 × 10^−3 on average.


B. Landgraf, A. Hoffmann, D. Kartashov, F. Gärtner, Z. Samsonova, P. Polynkin, J. Jacoby, T. Kühl, and C. Spielmann
Generation of multi-millijoule red-shifted pulses for seeding stimulated Raman backscattering amplifiers
Optics Express 23, 7400 (2015)

Abstract: The efficient generation of redshifted pulses from chirped femtosecond joule level Bessel beam pulses in gases is studied. The redshift spans from a few 100/cm to several 1000/cm corresponding to a shift of 50–500 nm for Nd:glass laser systems. The generated pulses have an almost perfect Gaussian beam profile insensitive of the pump beam profile, and are much shorter than the pump pulses. The highest measured energy is as high as 30 mJ, which is significantly higher than possible with solid state nonlinear frequency shifters.

J. Seres, E. Seres, B. Landgraf, B. Aurand, T. Kuehl, and C. Spielmann
Quantum Path Interference and Multiple Electron Scattering in Soft X-Ray High-Order Harmonic Generation
Photonics 2, 104 (2015)

Abstract: High-order harmonic generation is an important mechanism to generate coherent radiation in the few–100-eV spectral range with ultrashort laser pulses. Moreover, a closer inspection of the measured spectra provides unique information about the underlying physics and allows deriving guidelines for improvements. The long-range modulation of the spectral envelope is linked to phase matching, and we will show how to improve it with a double-pulse excitation scheme. Additionally, the spectrum contains only every fourth harmonic, which can be well explained by the quantum interference of multiple scattered electrons, and two dominant electron trajectories were selected by X-ray parametric interaction.


M. Zürch, A. Hoffmann, M. Gräfe, B. Landgraf, M. Riediger, and Ch. Spielmann
Characterization of a broadband interferometric autocorrelator for visible light with ultrashort blue laser pulses
Optics Communications 321, 28 (2014)

Abstract: We present a compact interferometric autocorrelator that allows the characterization of ultrashort laser pulses in the visible light domain (370–740nm). The presented device uses a GaN photodiode with corresponding two-photon absorption. Different GaN and AlGaN photodiodes were characterized for this purpose. Despite AlGaN diodes have a better matched bandgap for this application, we have found that only the GaN diodes show sufficient nonlinear behavior. Using the autocorrelator we were able to characterize ultrashort frequency doubled Ti:Sapphire laser pulses with a pulse duration down to 18fs in the second harmonic having just a few hundred nanojoules of pulse energy. The broadband behavior and extension towards the UV along with the need for only low energetic pulses are the novelties of this device.

J. Seres, E. Seres, B. Landgraf, B. Ecker, B. Aurand, A. Hoffmann, G. Winkler, S. Namba, T. Kuehl, and C. Spielmann
Parametric amplification of attosecond pulse trains at 11nm
Scientific Reports 4, 4254 (2014)

Abstract: We report the first experimental demonstration of the parametric amplification of attosecond pulse trains at around 11 nm. The helium amplifier is driven by intense laser pulses and seeded by high-order harmonics pulses generated in a neon gas jet. Our measurements suggest that amplification takes place only if the seed pulse-trains are perfectly synchronized in time with the driving laser field in the amplifier. Varying the delay, we estimate the durations of the individual extreme ultraviolet pulses within the train to be on the order of 0.2 fs. Our results demonstrate that strong-field parametric amplification can be a suitable tool to amplify weak attosecond pulses from non-destructive pump-probe experiments and it is an important step towards designing amplifiers for realization of energetic XUV pulses with sub-femtosecond duration using compact lasers fitting in university laboratories.

J. Seres, E. Seres, B. Landgraf, B. Ecker, B. Aurand, T. Kuehl, and C. Spielmann
High-harmonic generation and parametric amplification in the soft X-rays from extended electron trajectories
Scientific Reports 4, 4234 (2014)

Abstract: We report, for the first time, the generation of high-order harmonics in a spectral range between 200 eV and 1 keV with an unusual spectral property: only every 4th (4i + 1, i∈ℵ) harmonic line appears, whereas the usual high-harmonic spectra consist of every odd (2i + 1) harmonic. We attribute this unique property to the quantum path interference of two extended electron trajectories that experience multiple re-scattering. In the well-established theory, electrons emitted via tunnel ionisation are accelerated by a laser field, return to the ion and recombine. The acceleration typically lasts for less than one optical cycle, and the electrons radiate in the extreme ultraviolet range at recombination. In contrast, for extended trajectories, electrons are accelerated over two or more optical cycles. Here, we demonstrate that two sets of trajectories dominate and provide substantial contributions to the generated soft X-ray radiation because they fulfil the resonance condition for X-ray parametric amplification.


M. Schnell, A. Sävert, I. Uschmann, M. Reuter, M. Nicolai, T. Kämpfer, B. Landgraf, O. Jäckel, O. Jansen, A. Pukhov, M. C. Kaluza, and C. Spielmann
Optical control of hard X-ray polarization by electron injection in a laser wakefield accelerator
Nature Communications 4, 2421 (2013)

Abstract: Laser-plasma particle accelerators could provide more compact sources of high-energy radiation than conventional accelerators. Moreover, because they deliver radiation in femtosecond pulses, they could improve the time resolution of X-ray absorption techniques. Here we show that we can measure and control the polarization of ultra-short, broad-band keV photon pulses emitted from a laser-plasma-based betatron source. The electron trajectories and hence the polarization of the emitted X-rays are experimentally controlled by the pulse-front tilt of the driving laser pulses. Particle-in-cell simulations show that an asymmetric plasma wave can be driven by a tilted pulse front and a non-symmetric intensity distribution of the focal spot. Both lead to a notable off-axis electron injection followed by collective electron–betatron oscillations. We expect that our method for an all-optical steering is not only useful for plasma-based X-ray sources but also has significance for future laser-based particle accelerators.


M. Schnell, A. Sävert, B. Landgraf, M. Reuter, M. Nicolai, O. Jäckel, C. Peth, T. Thiele, O. Jansen, A. Pukhov, O. Willi, M. C. Kaluza, and C. Spielmann
Deducing the Electron-Beam Diameter in a Laser-Plasma Accelerator Using X-Ray Betatron Radiation
Physical Review Letters 108, 075001 (2012)

Abstract: We investigate the properties of a laser-plasma electron accelerator as a bright source of keV x-ray radiation. During the interaction, the electrons undergo betatron oscillations and from the carefully measured x-ray spectrum the oscillation amplitude of the electrons can be deduced which decreases with increasing electron energies. From the oscillation amplitude and the independently measured x-ray source size of (1.8 ± 0.3)  μm we are able to estimate the electron bunch diameter to be (1.6 ± 0.3)  μm.


B. Landgraf, M. Schnell, A. Sävert, M. C. Kaluza, and C. Spielmann
High resolution 3D gas-jet characterization
Review of Scientific Instruments 82, 083106 (2011)

Abstract: We present a tomographic characterization of gas jets employed for high-intensity laser-plasma interaction experiments where the shape can be non-symmetrically. With a Mach-Zehnder interferometer we measured the phase shift for different directions through the neutral density distribution of the gas jet. From the recorded interferograms it is possible to retrieve 3-dimensional neutral density distributions by tomographic reconstruction based on the filtered back projections. We report on criteria for the smallest number of recorded interferograms as well as a comparison with the widely used phase retrieval based on an Abel inversion. As an example for the performance of our approach, we present the characterization of nozzles with rectangular openings or gas jets with shock waves. With our setup we obtained a spatial resolution of less than 60 μm for an Argon density as low as 2 × 10^{17} cm^{−3}.