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La physique de l’infiniment grand l’infiniment petit

29/04/2024 : Attosecond physics research at LOA - historically in atoms, and currently in plasmas

23 avril 2024

I will give a brief introduction to the recently Nobel-awarded field of attosecond physics, whose pivotal tool are laser light waves, that are both extremely intense and finely controlled on the sub-cycle time scale. This has enabled the first measurement of attosecond light pulses by Pierre Agostini and colleagues at LOA, and is currently driven into new intensity-extremes in relativistic laser-plasma interaction.
We have developed a laser system that supplies visible laser pulses of near-single-cycle pulse duration (<4 fs) with terawatt peak power, capable of driving a dense surface plasma too turn it into a so-called plasma mirror. The non-linear reflection off this mirror can temporally compresses the laser pulse into an extreme-UV attosecond light pulse. This is a promising method for the generation of ever more intense attosecond light pulses, and I will describe our recent progress in its understanding and experimentally control.