Coherent ultrafast dynamics in plasmas


Scientific program

Matter in the gas phase or the solid state interacting with a laser field at intensity ≥ 1018 W/cm2 is strongly ionized and forms a plasma. The laser field can then “pull” (or “push”) electrons in the propagation direction, until they reach relativistic energy of several GeV (their velocity is close to c). Moreover, the laser field drives coherent oscillation of electrons in the plasma, leading to emission of ultrashort energetic X-ray pulses [Thaury08, Quéré09, Borot12]. In ATTOLAB, time-resolved detailed studies consider both emissions of light and electrons in laser-plasma interaction on solid target. The charged particle (electrons and ions) and the X-ray light sources have potential great interest for ultrafast imaging and diagnostics of solid materials, as well as for medical applications, e.g., cancer therapy. Deep understanding and control of the electronic motion in the laser-driven plasma gives the necessary bases of any technological development.


Experimental techniques

Important effort is dedicated to the laser R&D (funded outside ATTOLAB). Objective is to produce laser pulses in the IR spectral range with sub-5fs duration (few cycles), controlled CEP (*) and high energy: from 5 mJ on the laser “SalleNoire” SN2.0 to 50 mJ per pulse on the laser “SalleNoire” SN3.0.

(*) CEP : carrier envelope phase, or the time delay between the maxima of, respectively, the electric field in the carrier wave and the pulse envelope.

The FABP beamline comprises the laser system, a high stability solid target, diagnostics of the plasma-laser interaction. It makes available several techniques:

  • Interferometric imaging of plasmas on solid target

  • Extreme-UV spectroscopy and polarimetry

  • Electron spectroscopy



[Borot12] "Attosecond control of collective electron motion in plasmas", A. Borot, A. Malvache, X. Chen, J.-P. Geindre, P. Audebert, G. Mourou, F. Quéré, R. Lopez-Martens, Nature Physics 8, 416-421 (2012)


[Borot14] “High repetition rate plasma mirror device for attosecond science”, A. Borot, D. Douillet, G. Iaquaniello, T. Lefrou, P. Audebert, J.-P. Geindre, and R. Lopez-Martens, Review of Scientific Instruments 85, 013104 (2014)


Ultrafast science: Attosecond plasma optics, F. Quéré, Nature Physics 5, 93 (2009).


Coherent dynamics of plasma mirrors, C. Thaury, H.George, F. Quéré, R.A. Loch, J-P. Geindre, P. Monot, Ph. Martin, Nature Physics 4, 631 (2008)


[Wheeler12] "Attosecond lighthouses from plasma mirrors", J.A. Wheeler, A. Borot, S. Monchocé, H. Vincenti, A. Ricci, A. Malvache, R. Lopez-Martens and F. Quéré, Nature Photonics 6, 829-833 (2012).


Maj : 02/09/2015 (48)


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