Record compression delivers ultra-short laser pulses

The CFEL-ATTO group collaborated in an experiment to compress a high-average-power laser’s high-energy pulses from 1.2 ps down to 13 fs duration, opening up new possibilities for ultrafast physics and plasma acceleration.

A few members of the CFEL-ATTO group participated in an experiment aimed at the compression of high-energy, high-average-power burst laser pulses. The collaboration, led by Christoph Heyl from DESY / Helmholtz Institute Jena and involving scientists from Sweden and France, succeeded in the compression of high-energy pulses from a duration of 1.2 ps (trillionths of a second) down to 13 fs (quadrillionths of a second). This result was achieved by employing a novel technique combining two subsequent compression steps based on gas-filled multi-pass cells. The first step alone allowed a compression by almost a factor of 40 (i.e. down to 32 fs duration), a new record for high-energy pulses. The results of this experiment have been published in the journal Optics Letters.

The full news, published on the DESY website, can be found here.


The originally monochromatic infrared laser pulse (left) passes through the krypton gas several times, expanding its color spectrum, and is then compressed with special mirrors. Credit: Helmholtz Institute Jena/DESY, Christoph Heyl.

Post-compression of picosecond pulses into the few-cycle regime; Prannay Balla, Ammar Bin Wahid, Ivan Sytcevich, Chen Guo, Anne-Lise Viotti, Laura Silletti, Andrea Cartella, Skirmantas Alisauskas, Hamed Tavakol, Uwe Grosse-Wortmann, Arthur Schönberg, Marcus Seidel, Andrea Trabattoni, Bastian Manschwetus, Tino Lang, Francesca Calegari, Arnaud Couairon, Anne L’Huillier, Cord L. Arnold, Ingmar Hartl und Christoph M. Heyl; Optics Letters, 2020; DOI: 10.1364/OL.388665