Peer-Review Publications


C. Kohlfürst, and R. Alkofer
On the effect of time-dependent inhomogeneous magnetic fields in electron–positron pair production
Phys. Lett. B, 756 :371 (May 2016)
Electron–positron pair production in space- and time-dependent electromagnetic fields is investigated. Especially, the influence of a time-dependent, inhomogeneous magnetic field on the particle momenta and the total particle yield is analyzed for the first time. The role of the Lorentz invariant E^2-B^2, including its sign and local values, in the pair creation process is emphasized.
A. Otto, T. Nousch, D. Seipt, B. Kämpfer, D. Blaschke, A. D. Panferov, S. A. Smolyansky, and A. I. Titov
Pair production by Schwinger and Breit–Wheeler processes in bi-frequent fields
J. Plasma Phys., 82 :65582030 (May 2016)
Counter-propagating and suitably polarized light (laser) beams can provide conditions for pair production. Here, we consider in more detail the following two situations: (i) in the homogeneity regions of anti-nodes of linearly polarized ultra-high intensity laser beams, the Schwinger process is dynamically assisted by a second high-frequency field, e.g. by an XFEL beam; and (ii) a high-energy probe photon beam colliding with a superposition of co-propagating intense laser and XFEL beams gives rise to the laser-assisted Breit–Wheeler process. The prospects of such bi-frequent field constellations with respect to the feasibility of conversion of light into matter are discussed.
R. H. Pratt, R. A. Müller, and A. Surzhykov
Sum rules for the polarization correlations in photoionization and bremsstrahlung
Phys. Rev. A, 93 :053421 (May 2016)
The polarization correlations in doubly differential cross sections are investigated for photoionization and ordinary bremsstrahlung. These correlations describe the polarization transfer between incident light and ejected photoelectrons as well as between an incoming electron beam and bremsstrahlung light, respectively. They are characterized by a set of seven real parameters Cij. We show that the squares of these parameters are connected by simple “sum rules.” These sum rules can be applied for both one-electron systems and also for atoms, if the latter are described within the independent particle approximation. In particular, they are exact in their simplest form (i) for the photoionization of K-, LI,II-, and MI,II-atomic shells, as well as (ii) for bremsstrahlung in which the electron is scattered into s1/2 or p1/2 states, as in the tip (bremsstrahlung) region. Detailed calculations are performed to verify the derived identities and to discuss their possible applications for the analysis of modern photoionization and bremsstrahlung experiments. In particular, we argue that the sum rules may help to determine the entire set of (significant) polarization correlations in the case when not all Cij are available for experimental observation.
J. Rothhardt, C. Rothhardt, M. Müller, A. Klenke, M. Kienel, S. Demmler, T. Elsmann, M. Rothhardt, J. Limpert, and A. Tünnermann
100  W average power femtosecond laser at 343  nm
Opt. Lett., 41 :1885 (April 2016)
We present a femtosecond laser system delivering up to 100 W of average power at 343 nm. The laser system employs a Yb-based femtosecond fiber laser and subsequent second- and third-harmonic generation in beta barium borate (BBO) crystals. Thermal gradients within these BBO crystals are mitigated by sapphire heat spreaders directly bonded to the front and back surface of the crystals. Thus, a nearly diffraction-limited beam quality (M2<1.4) is achieved, despite the high thermal load to the nonlinear crystals. This laser source is expected to push many industrial and scientific applications in the future.
C. Serrat, D. Roca, J. M. Budesca, J. Seres, E. Seres, B. Aurand, A. Hoffmann, S. Namba, T. Kuehl, and C. Spielmann
Avalanche of stimulated forward scattering in high harmonic generation
Opt. Express, 24 :8028 (April 2016)
Optical amplifiers in all ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum exhibit an essential characteristic, namely the input signal during the propagation in the amplifier medium is multiplied by the avalanche effect of the stimulated emission to produce exponential growth. We perform a theoretical study motivated and supported by experimental data on a He gas amplifier driven by intense 30-fs-long laser pulses and seeded with attosecond pulse trains generated in a separated Ne gas jet. We demonstrate that the strong-field theory in the frame of high harmonic generation fully supports the appearance of the avalanche effect in the amplification of extreme ultraviolet attosecond pulse trains. We theoretically separate and identify different physical processes taking part in the interaction and we demonstrate that X-ray parametric amplification dominates over others. In particular, we identify strong-field mediated intrapulse X-ray parametric processes as decisive for amplification at the single-atom level. We confirm that the amplification takes place at photon energies where the amplifier is seeded and when the seed pulses are perfectly synchronized with the driving strong field in the amplifier. Furthermore, propagation effects, phase matching and seed synchronization can be exploited to tune the amplified spectral range within the seed bandwidth.
C. Hahn, G. Weber, R. Märtin, S. Höfer, T. Kämpfer, and T. Stöhlker
CdTe Timepix detectors for single-photon spectroscopy and linear polarimetry of high-flux hard x-ray radiation
Rev. Sci. Instrum., 87 :043106 (April 2016)
Single-photon spectroscopy of pulsed, high-intensity sources of hard X-rays — such as laser-generated plasmas — is often hampered by the pileup of several photons absorbed by the unsegmented, large-volume sensors routinely used for the detection of high-energy radiation. Detectors based on the Timepix chip, with a segmentation pitch of 55 μm and the possibility to be equipped with high-Zsensor chips, constitute an attractive alternative to commonly used passive solutions such as image plates. In this report, we present energy calibration and characterization measurements of such devices. The achievable energy resolution is comparable to that of scintillators for γ spectroscopy. Moreover, we also introduce a simple two-detector Compton polarimeter setup with a polarimeter quality of (98 ± 1)%. Finally, a proof-of-principle polarimetry experiment is discussed, where we studied the linear polarization of bremsstrahlung emitted by a laser-driven plasma and found an indication of the X-raypolarization direction depending on the polarization state of the incident laser pulse.
S. Kar, H. Ahmed, R. Prasad, M. Cerchez, S. Brauckmann, B. Aurand, G. Cantono, P. Hadjisolomou, C. Lewis, A. Macchi, G. Nersisyan, A. Robinson, A. Schroer, M. Swantusch, M. Zepf, O. Willi, and M. Borghesi
Guided post-acceleration of laser-driven ions by a miniature modular structure
Nat. Commun., 7 :10792 (April 2016)
All-optical approaches to particle acceleration are currently attracting a significant research effort internationally. Although characterized by exceptional transverse and longitudinal emittance, laser-driven ion beams currently have limitations in terms of peak ion energy, bandwidth of the energy spectrum and beam divergence. Here we introduce the concept of a versatile, miniature linear accelerating module, which, by employing laser-excited electromagnetic pulses directed along a helical path surrounding the laser-accelerated ion beams, addresses these shortcomings simultaneously. In a proof-of-principle experiment on a university-scale system, we demonstrate post-acceleration of laser-driven protons from a flat foil at a rate of 0.5 GeV/m, already beyond what can be sustained by conventional accelerator technologies, with dynamic beam collimation and energy selection. These results open up new opportunities for the development of extremely compact and cost-effective ion accelerators for both established and innovative applications.
H. Carstens, M. Högner, T. Saule, S. Holzberger, N. Lilienfein, A. Guggenmos, C. Jocher, T. Eidam, D. Esser, V. Tosa, V. Pervak, J. Limpert, A. Tünnermann, U. Kleineberg, F. Krausz, and I. Pupeza
High-harmonic generation at 250  MHz with photon energies exceeding 100  eV
Optica, 3 :366 (April 2016)
Ultrafast spectroscopy in the extreme ultraviolet demands for ever-higher pulse repetition rates and photon energies. Here, we drive cavity-enhanced high-order harmonic generation (HHG) at a repetition rate of 250 MHz, with 30 fs pulses and an average power of 10 kW. Employing an optimized cavity geometry and a high-pressure gas target, we couple out nanowatt-level harmonics at photon energies around 100 eV. This constitutes an improvement of more than two orders of magnitude over previous megahertz-repetition-rate HHG experiments and paves the way toward high-photon-energy frequency-comb spectroscopy and toward pump-probe photoelectron microscopy and spectroscopy at unprecedented repetition rates.
C. Jauregui, H.-J. Otto, S. Breitkopf, J. Limpert, and A. Tünnermann
Optimizing high-power Yb-doped fiber amplifier systems in the presence of transverse mode instabilities
Opt. Express, 24 :7879 (April 2016)
The average output power of Yb-doped fiber amplifier systems is currently limited by the onset of transverse mode instabilities. Besides, it has been recently shown that the transverse mode instability threshold can be significantly reduced by the presence of photodarkening in the fiber. Therefore, reducing the photodarkening level of the core material composition is the most straightforward way to increase the output average power of fiber amplifier systems but, unfortunately, this is not always easy or possible. In this paper we present guidelines to optimize the output average power of fiber amplifiers affected by transverse mode instabilities and photodarkening. The guidelines derived from the simulations do not involve changes in the composition of the active material (except for its doping concentration), but can still lead to a significant increase of the transverse mode instability threshold. The dependence of this parameter on the active ion concentration and the core conformation, among others, will be studied and discussed.
M. Mueller, M. Kienel, A. Klenke, T. Eidam, J. Limpert, and A. Tünnermann
Phase stabilization of spatiotemporally multiplexed ultrafast amplifiers
Opt. Express, 24 :7893 (April 2016)
Actively stabilized, simultaneous spatial and temporal coherent beam combination is a promising power-scaling technique for ultrafast laser systems. For a temporal combination based on optical delay lines, multiple stable states of operation arise for common stabilization techniques. A time resolved Jones’ calculus is applied to investigate the issue. A mitigation strategy based on a temporally gated error signal acquisition is derived and demonstrated, enabling to stabilize laser systems with arbitrary numbers of amplifier channels and optical delay lines.
H. Gies, F. Karbstein, and N. Seegert
Photon merging and splitting in electromagnetic field inhomogeneities
Phys. Rev. D, 93 :085034 (April 2016)
We investigate photon merging and splitting processes in inhomogeneous, slowly varying electromagnetic fields. Our study is based on the three-photon polarization tensor following from the Heisenberg-Euler effective action. We put special emphasis on deviations from the well-known constant field results, also revisiting the selection rules for these processes. In the context of high-intensity laser facilities, we analytically determine compact expressions for the number of merged/split photons as obtained in the focal spots of intense laser beams. For the parameter range of typical petawatt class laser systems as pump and probe, we provide estimates for the numbers of signal photons attainable in an actual experiment. The combination of frequency upshifting, polarization dependence and scattering off the inhomogeneities renders photon merging an ideal signature for the experimental exploration of nonlinear quantum vacuum properties.
O. Culfa, G. J. Tallents, A. K. Rossall, E. Wagenaars, C. P. Ridgers, C. D. Murphy, R. J. Dance, R. J. Gray, P. McKenna, C. D. R. Brown, S. F. James, D. J. Hoarty, N. Booth, A. P. L. Robinson, K. L. Lancaster, S. A. Pikuz, A. Ya. Faenov, T. Kämpfer, K. S. Schulze, I. Uschmann, and N. C. Woolsey
Plasma scale-length effects on electron energy spectra in high-irradiance laser plasmas
Phys. Rev. E, 93 :043201 (April 2016)
An analysis of an electron spectrometer used to characterize fast electrons generated by ultraintense (10^20 Wcm^−2) laser interaction with a preformed plasma of scale length measured by shadowgraphy is presented. The effects of fringing magnetic fields on the electron spectral measurements and the accuracy of density scale-length measurements are evaluated. 2D EPOCH PIC code simulations are found to be in agreement with measurements of the electron energy spectra showing that laser filamentation in plasma preformed by a prepulse is important with longer plasma scale lengths (>8 μm).
P.-M. Hillenbrand, S. Hagmann, J. M. Monti, R. D. Rivarola, K.-H. Blumenhagen, C. Brandau, W. Chen, R. D. DuBois, A. Gumberidze, D. L. Guo, M. Lestinsky, Yu. A. Litvinov, A. Müller, S. Schippers, U. Spillmann, S. Trotsenko, G. Weber, and T. Stöhlker
Strong asymmetry of the electron-loss-to-continuum cusp of multielectron U²⁸⁺ projectiles in near-relativistic collisions with gaseous targets
Phys. Rev. A, 93 :042709 (April 2016)
The process of electron-loss to the continuum (ELC) has been studied for the collision systems U28+ -> H2 at a collision energy of 50 MeV/u, U28+ -> N2 at 30 MeV/u, and U28+ -> Xe at 50 MeV/u. The energy distributions of cusp electrons emitted at an angle of 0∘ with respect to the projectile beam were measured using a magnetic forward-angle electron spectrometer. For these collision systems far from equilibrium charge state, a significantly asymmetric cusp shape is observed. The experimental results are compared to calculations based on first-order perturbation theory, which predict an almost symmetric cusp shape. Some possible reasons for this discrepancy are discussed.
P. Hansinger, G. Maleshkov, I. L. Garanovich, D. V. Skryabin, D. N. Neshev, A. Dreischuh, and G.G. Paulus
White light generated by femtosecond optical vortex beams
J. Opt. Soc. Am. B, 33 :681 (April 2016)
In this work we report detailed experimental and numerical investigation of the white light generation by singly and doubly charged optical vortices propagating in a Kerr medium, where spectral broadening and transfer of topological charge (TC) into emerging spectral satellites take place due to self-phase modulation and degenerate four-wave frequency mixing (FWFM). Experiments performed with different pump beams show excellent agreement with theory. Singly and doubly charged white light vortices are observed within more than ±200  nm bandwidth after nonlinear propagation in Argon gas. Our experiment and theory data confirm that the TC transformation of the newly generated spectral components follows a law analogous to the one for energy conservation in the FWFM process. We also present results on the white light vortex stability.
D. Seipt, V. Kharin, S. Rykovanov, A. Surzhykov, and S. Fritzsche
Analytical results for nonlinear Compton scattering in short intense laser pulses
J. Plasma Phys., 82 :655820203 (March 2016)
We study in detail the strong-field QED process of nonlinear Compton scattering in short intense plane wave laser pulses of circular polarization. Our main focus is placed on how the spectrum of the backscattered laser light depends on the shape and duration of the initial short intense pulse. Although this pulse shape dependence is very complicated and highly nonlinear, and has never been addressed explicitly, our analysis reveals that all the dependence on the laser pulse shape is contained in a class of three-parameter master integrals. Here we present completely analytical expressions for the nonlinear Compton spectrum in terms of these master integrals. Moreover, we analyse the universal behaviour of the shape of the spectrum for very high harmonic lines.
S. G. Rykovanov, C. G. R. Geddes, C. B. Schroeder, E. Esarey, and W. P. Leemans
Controlling the spectral shape of nonlinear Thomson scattering with proper laser chirping
Phys. Rev. Accel. Beams, 19 :030701 (March 2016)
Effects of nonlinearity in Thomson scattering of a high intensity laser pulse from electrons are analyzed. Analytic expressions for laser pulse shaping in frequency (chirping) are obtained which control spectrum broadening for high laser pulse intensities. These analytic solutions allow prediction of the spectral form and required laser parameters to avoid broadening. Results of analytical and numerical calculations agree well. The control over the scattered radiation bandwidth allows narrow bandwidth sources to be produced using high scattering intensities, which in turn greatly improves scattering yield for future x- and gamma-ray sources.
H. Gies, and G. Torgrimsson
Critical Schwinger Pair Production
Phys. Rev. Lett., 116 :090406 (March 2016)
We investigate Schwinger pair production in spatially inhomogeneous electric backgrounds. A critical point for the onset of pair production can be approached by fields that marginally provide sufficient electrostatic energy for an off-shell long-range electron-positron fluctuation to become a real pair. Close to this critical point, we observe features of universality which are analogous to continuous phase transitions in critical phenomena with the pair-production rate serving as an order parameter: electric backgrounds can be subdivided into universality classes and the onset of pair production exhibits characteristic scaling laws. An appropriate design of the electric background field can interpolate between power-law scaling, essential Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless-type scaling, and a power-law scaling with log corrections. The corresponding critical exponents only depend on the large-scale features of the electric background, whereas the microscopic details of the background play the role of irrelevant perturbations not affecting criticality.
T. Kämpfer, I. Uschmann, Z. W. Wu, A. Surzhykov, S. Fritzsche, E. Förster, and G.G. Paulus
Linear polarization of the characteristic x-ray lines following inner-shell photoionization of tungsten
Phys. Rev. A, 93 :033409 (March 2016)
The linear polarization of the characteristic lines Lα1 (3d5/2→2p3/2) and Lα2 (3d3/2→2p3/2), following inner-shell photoionization of neutral tungsten, is analyzed both experimentally and theoretically. In the experiment, a tungsten target is photoionized by the primary emission of an x-ray tube with incident photon energies in the range of 10.2–30 keV. The σ and π components of the emitted fluorescence are measured by using a spectropolarimeter, based on x-ray diffraction at Bragg angles close to 45∘. The degree of linear polarization of the Lα1 and Lα2 lines is determined to be +(1.6±0.5)% and −(7±2)%, respectively. In addition, this degree of polarization is calculated within the framework of the density-matrix theory as a function of the incident photon energy. These calculations are in good agreement with the experimental results and show only a weak dependence of the degree of polarization on the energy of the incident photoionizing photon.
A. V. Bogatskaya, E. A. Volkova, V. Y. Kharin, and A. M. Popov
Polarization response in extreme nonlinear optics: when can the semiclassical approach be used?
Laser Phys. Lett., 13 :045301 (March 2016)
Availability of the semiclassical approach in strong-field physics and extreme nonlinear optics is analyzed. It is found that it is valid for calculation of the emission to the initially populated bound state only if population of this state is close to unity during the pulse and in the after pulse regime. If the initial level is depleted, the semiclassical approach fails and should be replaced by quantum-electrodynamical calculations. Also it is demonstrated that the bremsstrahlung spectrum cannot be correctly described in the frames of the semiclassical approach.
S. Hädrich, J. Rothhardt, S. Demmler, M. Tschernajew, A. Hoffmann, M. Krebs, A. Liem, O. d. Vries, M. Plötner, S. Fabian, T. Schreiber, J. Limpert, and A. Tünnermann
Scalability of components for kW-level average power few-cycle lasers
Appl. Opt., 55 :1636 (March 2016)
In this paper, the average power scalability of components that can be used for intense few-cycle lasers based on nonlinear compression of modern femtosecond solid-state lasers is investigated. The key components of such a setup, namely, the gas-filled waveguides, laser windows, chirped mirrors for pulse compression and low dispersion mirrors for beam collimation, focusing, and beam steering are tested under high-average-power operation using a kilowatt cw laser. We demonstrate the long-term stable transmission of kW-level average power through a hollow capillary and a Kagome-type photonic crystal fiber. In addition, we show that sapphire substrates significantly improve the average power capability of metal-coated mirrors. Ultimately, ultrabroadband dielectric mirrors show negligible heating up to 1 kW of average power. In summary, a technology for scaling of few-cycle lasers up to 1 kW of average power and beyond is presented.
W. Cayzac, A. Frank, A. Ortner, V. Bagnoud, M. Basko, S. Bedacht, A. Blazevic, O. Deppert, D. Gericke, L. Hallo, A. Knetsch, D. Kraus, G. Malka, K. Pépitone, G. Schaumann, T. Schlegel, D. Schumacher, An. Tauschwitz, J. Vorberger, F. Wagner, and M. Roth
Simulations of the energy loss of ions at the stopping-power maximum in a laser-induced plasma
J. Phys.: Conf. Ser., 688 :012009 (March 2016)
Simulations have been performed to study the energy loss of carbon ions in a hot, laser-generated plasma in the velocity region of the stopping-power maximum. In this parameter range, discrepancies of up to 30% exist between the various stopping theories and hardly any experimental data are available. The considered plasma, created by irradiating a thin carbon foil with two high-energy laser beams, is fully-ionized with a temperature of nearly 200 eV. To study the interaction at the maximum stopping power, Monte-Carlo calculations of the ion charge state in the plasma are carried out at a projectile energy of 0.5 MeV per nucleon. The predictions of various stopping-power theories are compared and experimental campaigns are planned for a first-time theory benchmarking in this low-velocity range.
A. Gopal, A. H. Woldegeorgis, S. Herzer, G.G. Paulus, P. Singh, W. Ziegler, and T. May.
Smith–Purcell radiation in the terahertz regime using charged particle beams from laser–matter interactions
Laser Part. Beams, 34 :187 (March 2016)
We report on the experimental observation of Smith–Purcell (SP) radiation generation by charged particle beam from laser–matter interactions. High-power laser pulses were focused onto a thin metal foil target to generate proton beams with energies up to 1.7 MeV via the target normal sheath acceleration (TNSA) process. The particle beam from the TNSA process was sent close to a periodic structure to generate SP radiation. Sub-μJ terahertz pulses were recorded using a pyroelectric detector. Simultaneous measurement of the ion spectra allowed us to estimate the power of the emitted radiation and compare it with the experimental results. The distance between the grating and the particle beam was varied and its effect on the emitted radiation was studied.
S. Keppler, A. Sävert, J. Körner, M. Hornung, H. Liebetrau, J. Hein, and M. Kaluza
The generation of amplified spontaneous emission in high-power CPA laser systems
Laser Photon. Rev., 10 :264 (March 2016)
An analytical model is presented describing the temporal intensity contrast determined by amplified spontaneous emission in high-intensity laser systems which are based on the principle of chirped pulse amplification. The model describes both the generation and the amplification of the amplified spontaneous emission for each type of laser amplifier. This model is applied to different solid state laser materials which can support the amplification of pulse durations ≤350 fs . The results are compared to intensity and fluence thresholds, e.g. determined by damage thresholds of a certain target material to be used in high-intensity applications. This allows determining if additional means for contrast improvement, e.g. plasma mirrors, are required for a certain type of laser system and application. Using this model, the requirements for an optimized high-contrast front-end design are derived regarding the necessary contrast improvement and the amplified “clean” output energy for a desired focussed peak intensity. Finally, the model is compared to measurements at three different high-intensity laser systems based on Ti:Sapphire and Yb:glass. These measurements show an excellent agreement with the model.
D. Seipt, A. Surzhykov, S. Fritzsche, and B. Kämpfer
Caustic structures in x-ray Compton scattering off electrons driven by a short intense laser pulse
New J. Phys., 18 :023044 (February 2016)
We study the Compton scattering of x-rays off electrons that are driven by a relativistically intense short optical laser pulse. The frequency spectrum of the laser-assisted Compton radiation shows a broad plateau in the vicinity of the laser-free Compton line due to a nonlinear mixing between x-ray and laser photons. Special emphasis is placed on how the shape of the short assisting laser pulse affects the spectrum of the scattered x-rays. In particular, we observe sharp peak structures in the plateau region, whose number and locations are highly sensitive to the laser pulse shape. These structures are interpreted as spectral caustics by using a semiclassical analysis of the laser-assisted QED matrix element, relating the caustic peak locations to the laser-driven electron motion.
A. Titov, B. Kämpfer, A. Hosaka, T. Nousch, and D. Seipt
Determination of the carrier envelope phase for short, circularly polarized laser pulses
Phys. Rev. D, 93 :045010 (February 2016)
We analyze the impact of the carrier envelope phase on the differential cross sections of the Breit- Wheeler and the generalized Compton scattering in the interaction of a charged electron (positron) with an intensive ultrashort electromagnetic (laser) pulse. The differential cross sections as a function of the azimuthal angle of the outgoing electron have a clear bump structure, where the bump position coincides with the value of the carrier phase. This effect can be used for the carrier envelope phase determination.