Skip to content

Attosecond Nonlinear Optics and X-ray Lasers


Coherent up-conversion of near-infrared femtosecond laser light into the extreme ultraviolet and soft-x-ray regions of the spectrum using the process of high-harmonic generation allows to extend concepts from nonlinear optics well into the x-ray region. Coherent x-rays represent one of the most powerful tools for understanding molecules and materials at the nanoscale, uncovering important information related to magnetism, photochemistry, materials, biology, nanoscience and many other areas of science and technology. In biology and medicine, ultrafast coherent x-ray sources promise to capture the most basic processes, such as charge transfer, photosynthesis or cell death, on their fundamental timescales. "Extreme" nonlinear optics opens the door to develop new methods for quantum coherent control in the weak and moderate intensity regimes, combined to more intense-field processes, for bridging the gap between femtochemistry, attosecond physics and attochemistry. To date, research in coherent x-ray science has predominantly been carried out using synchrotron large scale facilities. We investigate new ultrafast x-ray coherent light amplifiers that promise to complement and substitute in many cases the need of large scale synchrotron facilities. This represents a truly great challenge for x-rays spectroscopy science and for the attophysics scientific community.


Involved Researchers: C. Serrat, J. L. Font.


Associated projects


Attosecond nonlinear optics and X-ray lasers. In this project, we investigate the coherent dynamics of electron wavepackets inside atoms and molecules and the amplification of attosecond pulses and lasers in the x-ray region of the electromagnetic spectrum. In close cooperation with the experiments, we study high-harmonic generation processes and strong-field assisted attosecond transient absorption spectroscopy, which are essential for applications in faster optical detectors and electronics, and in imaging and coherent control in biology and medicine. Additionally, we study selective quantum control of population transfer and vibrational coherences in the ground and excited state of atoms and molecules by shaped femtosecond multi-pulses, for quantum entanglement via Rydberg excitation and as a first step towards using its combination with engineered attosecond pulses in a full attochemistry control scenario.


Scientific coordinator: C. Serrat.

Funding Agency: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad.

Participants: C. Serrat, J. L. Font.

Project ref. No.: FIS2017-85526-R.

Start/Ends dates: 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2021.