Peer-Review Publications


T. Kiefer, T. Schlegel, and M.C. Kaluza
Plasma expansion into vacuum assuming a steplike electron energy distribution
Phys. Rev. E, 87 :043110 (April 2013)
The expansion of a semi-infinite plasma slab into vacuum is analyzed with a hydrodynamic model implying a steplike electron energy distribution function. Analytic expressions for the maximum ion energy and the related ion distribution function are derived and compared with one-dimensional numerical simulations. The choice of the specific non-Maxwellian initial electron energy distribution automatically ensures the conservation of the total energy of the system. The estimated ion energies may differ by an order of magnitude from the values obtained with an adiabatic expansion model supposing a Maxwellian electron distribution. Furthermore, good agreement with data from experiments using laser pulses of ultrashort durations τ_L ≤ 80 fs is found, while this is not the case when a hot Maxwellian electron distribution is assumed.
D. Kiefer, M. Yeung, T. Dzelzainis, P. S. Foster, S. G. Rykovanov, C. L. S. Lewis, R. S. Marjoribanks, H. Ruhl, D. Habs, J. Schreiber, M. Zepf, and B. Dromey
Relativistic electron mirrors from nanoscale foils for coherent frequency upshift to the extreme ultraviolet
Nat. Commun., 4 :1763 (April 2013)
Reflecting light from a mirror moving close to the speed of light has been envisioned as a route towards producing bright X-ray pulses since Einstein’s seminal work on special relativity. For an ideal relativistic mirror, the peak power of the reflected radiation can substantially exceed that of the incident radiation due to the increase in photon energy and accompanying temporal compression. Here we demonstrate for the first time that dense relativistic electron mirrors can be created from the interaction of a high-intensity laser pulse with a freestanding, nanometre-scale thin foil. The mirror structures are shown to shift the frequency of a counter-propagating laser pulse coherently from the infrared to the extreme ultraviolet with an efficiency > 10^4 times higher than in the case of incoherent scattering. Our results elucidate the reflection process of laser-generated electron mirrors and give clear guidance for future developments of a relativistic mirror structure.
P. Linusson, S. Fritzsche, J. H. D. Eland, M. Mucke, and R. Feifel
Single-photon multiple ionization forming double vacancies in the 2p subshell of argon
Phys. Rev. A, 87 :043409 (April 2013)
Single-photon ionization leading to two vacancies in the 2p subshell of argon is investigated experimentally using the photoelectron time-of-flight magnetic bottle coincidence technique. Three peaks corresponding to the 3P, 1D, and 1S states of the dication are found in the ionization energy range 535 to 562 eV. Multiconfigurational Dirac-Fock calculations were performed to estimate the single-photon double-ionization cross sections. Reasonable agreement between the measured and simulated spectra is found if single and double excitations are taken into account in the wave-function expansion.
R. Riedel, A. Al-Shemmary, M. Gensch, T. Golz, M. Harmand, N. Medvedev, M. J. Prandolini, K. Sokolowski-Tinten, S. Toleikis, U. Wegner, B. Ziaja, N. Stojanovic, and F. Tavella
Single-shot pulse duration monitor for extreme ultraviolet and X-ray free-electron lasers
Nat. Commun., 4 :1731 (April 2013)
The resolution of ultrafast studies performed at extreme ultraviolet and X-ray free-electron lasers is still limited by shot-to-shot variations of the temporal pulse characteristics. Here we show a versatile single-shot temporal diagnostic tool that allows the determination of the extreme ultraviolet pulse duration and the relative arrival time with respect to an external pump-probe laser pulse. This method is based on time-resolved optical probing of the transient reflectivity change due to linear absorption of the extreme ultraviolet pulse within a solid material. In this work, we present measurements performed at the FLASH free-electron laser. We determine the pulse duration at two distinct wavelengths, yielding (184 ± 14) fs at 41.5 nm and (21 ± 19) fs at 5.5 nm. Furthermore, we demonstrate the feasibility to operate the tool as an online diagnostic by using a 20-nm-thin Si_(3)N_(4) membrane as target. Our results are supported by detailed numerical and analytical investigations.
N. Brambilla, F. Karbstein, and A. Vairo
Symmetries of the three-heavy-quark system and the color-singlet static energy at next-to-next-to-leading logarithmic order
Phys. Rev. D, 87 :074014 (April 2013)
We study the symmetries of the three-heavy-quark system under exchange of the quark fields within the effective field theory framework of potential nonrelativistic QCD. The symmetries constrain the form of the matching coefficients in the effective theory. We then focus on the color-singlet sector and determine the so far unknown leading ultrasoft contribution to the static potential, which is of order α_(s)^(4)ln⁡μ, and consequently to the static energy, which is of order α_(s)^(4)lnα_(s). Finally, in the case of an equilateral geometry, we solve the renormalization group equations and resum the leading ultrasoft logarithms for the static potential of three quarks in a color singlet, octet and decuplet representation.
J. Colgan, J. Abdallah, A. Ya. Faenov, S. A. Pikuz, E. Wagenaars, N. Booth, O. Culfa, R. J. Dance, R. G. Evans, R. J. Gray, T. Kämpfer, K. L. Lancaster, P. McKenna, A. L. Rossall, I. Yu. Skobelev, K. S. Schulze, I. Uschmann, A. G. Zhidkov, and N. C. Woolsey
Exotic Dense-Matter States Pumped by a Relativistic Laser Plasma in the Radiation-Dominated Regime
Phys. Rev. Lett., 110 :125001 (March 2013)
In high-spectral resolution experiments with the petawatt Vulcan laser, strong x-ray radiation of KK hollow atoms (atoms without n=1 electrons) from thin Al foils was observed at pulse intensities of 3 × 10^(20)  W/cm^2. The observations of spectra from these exotic states of matter are supported by detailed kinetics calculations, and are consistent with a picture in which an intense polychromatic x-ray field, formed from Thomson scattering and bremsstrahlung in the electrostatic fields at the target surface, drives the KK hollow atom production. We estimate that this x-ray field has an intensity of > 5 × 10^(18)  W/cm^2 and is in the 3 keV range.
M. Hornung, S. Keppler, R. Bödefeld, A. Kessler, H. Liebetrau, J. Körner, M. Hellwing, F. Schorcht, O. Jäckel, A. Sävert, J. Polz, A. K. Arunachalam, J. Hein, and M.C. Kaluza
High-intensity, high-contrast laser pulses generated from the fully diode-pumped Yb:glass laser system POLARIS
Opt. Lett., 38 :718 (March 2013)
We report on the first generation of high-contrast, 164 fs duration pulses from the laser system POLARIS reaching focused peak intensities in excess of 2×10^20  W/cm2. To our knowledge, this is the highest peak intensity reported so far that has been achieved with a diode-pumped, solid-state laser. Several passive contrast enhancement techniques have been specially developed and implemented, achieving a relative prepulse intensity smaller than 10^−8 at t=−30  ps before the main pulse. Furthermore a closed-loop adaptive-optics system has been installed. Together with angular chirp compensation, this method has led to a significant reduction of the focal spot size and an increase of the peak intensity.
J. Gunst, A. Surzhykov, A. Artemyev, S. Fritzsche, S. Tashenov, A. Maiorova, V. M. Shabaev, and T. Stöhlker
Parity-nonconservation effects on the radiative recombination of heavy hydrogenlike ions
Phys. Rev. A, 87 :032714 (March 2013)
Based on the theoretical analysis of the radiative recombination of heavy hydrogen-like ions with unpolarized electrons, a scheme is proposed for observing atomic parity nonconservation (PNC). The scheme employs the sensitivity of the polarization properties of recombination photons on the PNC-induced mixing of opposite-parity ionic levels. For the electron capture into the 1s2p(3)^P_(0) state of helium-like ions, in particular, the PNC leads to a rotation of the photon linear polarization on the angle, directly proportional to the 1s2p (3)^P_(0)–1s2s (1)^S_(0) mixing parameter. Owing to the recent advances in the development of x-ray polarimeters, the observation of such a rotation angle and, hence, the corresponding parity mixing is likely to become feasible in the future.
A. Hayrapetyan, K. Grigoryan, R. Petrosyan, and S. Fritzsche
Propagation of sound waves through a spatially homogeneous but smoothly time-dependent medium
Ann. Phys., 333 :47 (March 2013)
The propagation of sound through a spatially homogeneous but non-stationary medium is investigated within the framework of fluid dynamics. For a non-vortical fluid, especially, a generalized wave equation is derived for the (scalar) potential of the fluid velocity distribution in dependence of the equilibrium mass density of the fluid and the sound wave velocity. A solution of this equation for a finite transition period ττ is determined in terms of the hypergeometric function for a phenomenologically realistic, sigmoidal change of the mass density and sound wave velocity. Using this solution, it is shown that the energy flux of the sound wave is not conserved but increases always for the propagation through a non-stationary medium, independent of whether the equilibrium mass density is increased or decreased. It is found, moreover, that this amplification of the transmitted wave arises from an energy exchange with the medium and that its flux is equal to the (total) flux of the incident and the reflected wave. An interpretation of the reflected wave as a propagation of sound backward in time is given in close analogy to Feynman and Stueckelberg for the propagation of anti-particles. The reflection and transmission coefficients of sound propagating through a non-stationary medium is analyzed in more detail for hypersonic waves with transition periods ττ between 15 and 200 ps as well as the transformation of infrasound waves in non-stationary oceans.
B. Aurand, S. Kuschel, O. Jäckel, C. Rödel, H. Y. Zhao, S. Herzer, A. E. Paz, J. Bierbach, J. Polz, B. Elkin, G.G. Paulus, A. Karmakar, P. Gibbon, T. Kühl, and M.C. Kaluza
Radiation pressure-assisted acceleration of ions using multi-component foils in high-intensity laser-matter interactions
New J. Phys., 15 :033031 (March 2013)
Experimental results on the acceleration of protons and carbon ions from ultra-thin polymer foils at intensities of up to 6 × 10^(19) W cm^(−2) are presented revealing quasi-monoenergetic spectral characteristics for different ion species at the same time. For carbon ions and protons, a linear correlation between the cutoff energy and the peak energy is observed when the laser intensity is increased. Particle-in-cell simulations supporting the experimental results imply an ion acceleration mechanism driven by the radiation pressure as predicted for multi-component foils at these intensities.
J. Rothhardt, S. Demmler, S. Hädrich, T. Peschel, J. Limpert, and A. Tünnermann
Thermal effects in high average power optical parametric amplifiers
Opt. Lett., 38 :763 (March 2013)
Optical parametric amplifiers (OPAs) have the reputation of being average power scalable due to the instantaneous nature of the parametric process (zero quantum defect). This Letter reveals serious challenges originating from thermal load in the nonlinear crystal caused by absorption. We investigate these thermal effects in high average power OPAs based on beta barium borate. Absorption of both pump and idler waves is identified to contribute significantly to heating of the nonlinear crystal. A temperature increase of up to 148 K with respect to the environment is observed and mechanical tensile stress up to 40 MPa is found, indicating a high risk of crystal fracture under such conditions. By restricting the idler to a wavelength range far from absorption bands and removing the crystal coating we reduce the peak temperature and the resulting temperature gradient significantly. Guidelines for further power scaling of OPAs and other nonlinear devices are given.
S. Gardiner, H. Gies, J. Jäckel, and C. Wallace
Tunnelling of the 3rd kind: A test of the effective non-locality of quantum field theory
Europhys. Lett., 101 :61001 (March 2013)
Integrating out virtual quantum fluctuations in an originally local quantum field theory results in an effective theory which is non-local. In this letter we argue that tunnelling of the 3rd kind - where particles traverse a barrier by splitting into a pair of virtual particles which recombine only after a finite distance - provides a direct test of this non-locality. We sketch a quantum-optical setup to test this effect, and investigate observable effects in a simple toy model.
S. Tashenov, T. Bäck, R. Barday, B. Cederwall, J. Enders, A. Khaplanov, Yu. Fritzsche, K.-U. Schässburger, A. Surzhykov, V. A. Yerokhin, and D. Jakubassa-Amundsen
Bremsstrahlung polarization correlations and their application for polarimetry of electron beams
Phys. Rev. A, 87 :022707 (February 2013)
Linear polarization of hard x rays emitted in the process of atomic-field electron bremsstrahlung has been measured with a polarized electron beam. The correlation between the initial orientation of the electron spin and the angle of photon polarization has been systematically studied by means of Compton and Rayleigh polarimetry techniques applied to a segmented germanium detector. The results are in good agreement with those of fully relativistic calculations. The observed correlations are also explained classically and in a unique way manifest that due to the spin-orbit interaction the electron scattering trajectory is not confined to a single scattering plane. The developed photon polarimetry technique with a passive scatterer is very efficient and accurate and thus allows for additional applications. Bremsstrahlung polarization correlations lead to an alternative method of polarimetry of electron beams. Such a method is sensitive to all three components of the electron spin. It can be applied in a broad range of the electron beam energies from ≈100 keV up to a few tens of MeV. The results of a measurement at 100 keV are shown. The optimum scheme for electron polarimetry is analyzed and the relevant theoretical predictions are presented.
F. Jansen, F. Stutzki, H.-J. Otto, C. Jauregui, J. Limpert, and A. Tünnermann
High-power thermally guiding index-antiguiding-core fibers
Opt. Lett., 38 :510 (February 2013)
We investigate high-power operation of a very-large-mode-area (VLMA) fiber concept based on an index-antiguiding, thermally guiding core in which an ytterbium-doped region is completely surrounded by silica with a slightly higher refractive index. Experimentally, regimes of antiguidance, single-mode operation, and mode instabilities predominantly with radially symmetric higher-order modes are observed. Fundamental limitations for conventional VLMA step-index fibers are discussed.
R. Geithner, D. Heinert, R. Neubert, W. Vodel, and P. Seidel
Low temperature permeability and current noise of ferromagnetic pickup coils
Cryogenics, 54 :16 (February 2013)
For a non-destructive measurement of intensities of charged particle beams a Cryogenic Current Comparator is used which captures the azimuthal magnetic field of the beam by a superconducting pickup coil at 4.2 K and transforms it into a current which is detected by a SQUID based current sensor. The current noise of the pickup coil and the bandwidth of this transformer depend on the frequency response curve of the complex permeability of the ferromagnetic core material embedded in the pickup coil. A measurement of the series inductance LS and series resistance RS of such a coil allows an indirect evaluation of the current noise contribution of the core using the Fluctuation–Dissipation-Theorem. These measurements were done with a commercial LCR-Meter in a frequency range from 20 Hz to 2 MHz. The current noise density was also directly measured using a SQUID-sensor. A comparison with between the direct and indirect measurement showed a good coincidence. Due to the critical temperature of the LTS-SQUID, noise measurements above 4.2 K are not possible apart from using an anti-cryostat. The measurement of the series inductance LS and series resistance RS with an LCR-Meter works in the whole temperature range and provides a comfortable access to the magnetic properties of core materials. Compared to direct measurements, the indirect measurement thus allows a technologically simpler and broader determination of the core noise.
M. Yeung, B. Dromey, C. Rödel, J. Bierbach, M. Wünsche, G. Paulus, T. Hahn, D. Hemmers, C. Stelzmann, G. Pretzler, and M. Zepf
Near-monochromatic high-harmonic radiation from relativistic laser-plasma interactions with blazed grating surfaces
New J. Phys., 15 :025042 (February 2013)
Intense, femtosecond laser interactions with blazed grating targets are studied through experiment and particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations. The high harmonic spectrum produced by the laser is angularly dispersed by the grating leading to near-monochromatic spectra emitted at different angles, each dominated by a single harmonic and its integer-multiples. The spectrum emitted in the direction of the third-harmonic diffraction order is measured to contain distinct peaks at the 9th and 12th harmonics which agree well with two-dimensional PIC simulations using the same grating geometry. This confirms that surface smoothing effects do not dominate the far-field distributions for surface features with sizes on the order of the grating grooves whilst also showing this to be a viable method of producing near-monochromatic, short-pulsed extreme-ultraviolet radiation.
S. Fuchs, C. Rödel, M. Krebs, S. Hädrich, J. Bierbach, A. E. Paz, S. Kuschel, M. Wünsche, V. Hilbert, U. Zastrau, E. Förster, J. Limpert, and G.G. Paulus
Sensitivity calibration of an imaging extreme ultraviolet spectrometer-detector system for determining the efficiency of broadband extreme ultraviolet sources
Rev. Sci. Instrum., 84 :023101 (February 2013)
We report on the absolute sensitivity calibration of an extreme ultraviolet (XUV) spectrometer system that is frequently employed to study emission from short-pulse laser experiments. The XUV spectrometer, consisting of a toroidal mirror and a transmission grating, was characterized at a synchrotron source in respect of the ratio of the detected to the incident photon flux at photon energies ranging from 15.5 eV to 99 eV. The absolute calibration allows the determination of the XUV photon number emitted by laser-based XUV sources, e.g., high-harmonic generation from plasma surfaces or in gaseous media. We have demonstrated high-harmonic generation in gases and plasma surfaces providing 2.3 μW and μJ per harmonic using the respective generation mechanisms.
F. Stutzki, F. Jansen, C. Jauregui, J. Limpert, and A. Tünnermann
2.4 mJ, 33 W Q-switched Tm-doped fiber laser with near diffraction-limited beam quality
Opt. Lett., 38 :97 (January 2013)
We report on a high pulse energy and high average power Q-switched Tm-doped fiber oscillator. The oscillator produces 2.4 mJ pulses with 33 W average power (at a repetition rate of 13.9 kHz) and nearly diffraction-limited beam quality. This record performance is enabled by a Tm-doped large-pitch fiber, which allows for large core diameters in combination with effective single-mode operation.
B. Döbrich, H. Gies, N. Neitz, and F. Karbstein
Magnetically amplified light-shining-through-walls via virtual minicharged particles
Phys. Rev. D, 87 :025022 (January 2013)
We show that magnetic fields have the potential to significantly enhance a recently proposed light-shining-through-walls scenario in quantum-field theories with photons coupling to minicharged particles. Suggesting a dedicated laboratory experiment, we demonstrate that this particular tunneling scenario could provide access to a parameter regime competitive with the currently best direct laboratory limits on minicharged fermions below the meV regime. With present day technology, such an experiment has the potential to even overcome the best model-independent cosmological bounds on minicharged fermions with masses below O(10^(-4))  eV.


S. Breitkopf, A. Klenke, T. Gottschall, H. Otto, C. Jauregui, J. Limpert, and A. Tünnermann
58 mJ burst comprising ultrashort pulses with homogenous energy level from an Yb-doped fiber amplifier
Opt. Lett., 37 :5169 (December 2012)
We report on a laser system producing a burst comprising femtosecond pulses with a total energy of 58 mJ. Every single pulse within this burst has an energy between 27 and 31 μJ. The pump is able to rebuild the inversion fast enough between the pulses, resulting in an almost constant gain for every pulse during the burst. This causes a very homogenous energy distribution during the burst. The output burst has a repetition frequency of 20 Hz, is 200 μs long and, therefore, contains 2000 pulses at a pulse repetition rate of 10 MHz.
X. Xie, K. Doblhoff-Dier, S. Roither, M. Schöffler, D. Kartashov, H. Xu, T. Rathje, G. Paulus, A. Baltuska, S. Gräfe, and M. Kitzler
Attosecond-Recollision-Controlled Selective Fragmentation of Polyatomic Molecules
Phys. Rev. Lett., 109 :243001 (December 2012)
Control over various fragmentation reactions of a series of polyatomic molecules (acetylene, ethylene, 1,3-butadiene) by the optical waveform of intense few-cycle laser pulses is demonstrated experimentally. We show both experimentally and theoretically that the responsible mechanism is inelastic ionization from inner-valence molecular orbitals by recolliding electron wave packets, whose recollision energy in few-cycle ionizing laser pulses strongly depends on the optical waveform. Our work demonstrates an efficient and selective way of predetermining fragmentation and isomerization reactions in polyatomic molecules on subfemtosecond time scales.
K. J. Betsch, N. Johnson, B. Bergues, M. Kübel, O. Herrwerth, A. Senftleben, I. Ben-Itzhak, G.G. Paulus, R. Moshammer, J. Ullrich, M. F. Kling, and R. R. Jones
Controlled directional ion emission from several fragmentation channels of CO driven by a few-cycle laser field
Phys. Rev. A, 86 :063403 (December 2012)
We explore the dissociative ionization of CO with carrier-envelope-phase (CEP) tagged few-cycle laser pulses. We observe the CEP dependence of the directional emission of C^(p+) and O^(q+) fragments from transient CO^([p+q]+) ions, where p + q ≤ 3 and q ≤ 1. At I_0 = 3.5 × 10^(14) W/cm^2, a 180°. phase difference between the C^(+) and O^(+) fragments from the (p=1, q=0) and (p=0, q=1) channels reflects the orientation dependence of the CO ionization. At I_0 = 1.2 × 10^(15) W/cm^2, we find a ~35° phase shift between the C^(2+) fragments from the (p = 2, q = 0) and (p = 2, q = 1) channels, in contrast to the 180∘ shift previously observed between the C2+ fragment channels at I_0 = 6 × 10^(14) W/cm^2 [ Phys. Rev. Lett. 106 073004 (2011)].
P. Neumayer, B. Aurand, R. Fraga, B. Ecker, R. E. Grisenti, A. Gumberidze, D. C. Hochhaus, A. Kalinin, M.C. Kaluza, T. Kühl, J. Polz, R. Reuschl, T. Stöhlker, D. Winters, N. Winters, and Z. Yin
Evidence for ultra-fast heating in intense-laser irradiated reduced-mass targets
Phys. Plasmas, 19 :122708 (December 2012)
We report on an experiment irradiating individual argon droplets of 20 μm diameter with laser pulses of several Joule energy at intensities of 10^19 W/cm^2. K-shell emission spectroscopy was employed to determine the hot electron energy fraction and the time-integrated charge-state distribution. Spectral fitting indicates that bulk temperatures up to 160 eV are reached. Modelling of the hot-electron relaxation and generation of K-shell emission with collisional hot-electron stopping only is incompatible with the experimental results, and the data suggest an additional ultra-fast (sub-ps) heating contribution. For example, including resistive heating in the modelling yields a much better agreement with the observed final bulk temperature and qualitatively reproduces the observed charge state distribution.
B. King, H. Gies, and A. Di Piazza
Pair production in a plane wave by thermal background photons
Phys. Rev. A, 86 :125007 (December 2012)
Ever since Schwinger published his influential paper [J. Schwinger Phys. Rev. 82 664 (1951)], the maxim that there can be no pair creation in a plane wave has been often cited. We advance an analysis that indicates that in any real situation, where thermal effects are present, in a single plane-wave field, even in the limit of zero frequency (a constant crossed field), thermal photons can seed pair creation. Interestingly, the pair-production rate is found to depend nonperturbatively on both the amplitude of the constant crossed field and on the temperature.
A. Eichhorn, H. Gies, and D. Roscher
Renormalization flow of axion electrodynamics
Phys. Rev. D, 86 :125014 (December 2012)
We study the renormalization flow of axion electrodynamics, concentrating on the nonperturbative running of the axion-photon coupling and the mass of the axion(-like) particle. Due to a nonrenormalization property of the axion-photon vertex, the renormalization flow is controlled by photon and axion anomalous dimensions. As a consequence, momentum-independent axion self-interactions are not induced by photon fluctuations. The nonperturbative flow towards the ultraviolet exhibits a Landau-pole-type behavior, implying that the system has a scale of maximum UV extension and that the renormalized axion-photon coupling in the deep infrared is bounded from above. Even though gauge invariance guarantees that photon fluctuations do not decouple in the infrared, the renormalized couplings remain finite even in the deep infrared and even for massless axions. Within our truncation, we also observe the existence of an exceptional renormalization group trajectory, which is extendable to arbitrarily high scales, without being governed by a UV fixed point.