Controlling photoionization using attosecond time-slit interferences

Yu Chen Cheng, Sara Mikaelsson, Saikat Nandi, Lisa Rämisch, Chen Guo, Stefanos Carlström, Anne Harth, Jan Vogelsang, Miguel Miranda, Cord L. Arnold, Anne L'Huillier, Mathieu Gisselbrecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When small quantum systems, atoms or molecules, absorb a high-energy photon, electrons are emitted with a well-defined energy and a highly symmetric angular distribution, ruled by energy quantization and parity conservation. These rules are based on approximations and symmetries which may break down when atoms are exposed to ultrashort and intense optical pulses. This raises the question of their universality for the simplest case of the photoelectric effect. Here we investigate photoionization of helium by a sequence of attosecond pulses in the presence of a weak infrared laser field. We continuously control the energy of the photoelectrons and introduce an asymmetry in their emission direction, at variance with the idealized rules mentioned above. This control, made possible by the extreme temporal confinement of the light-matter interaction, opens a road in attosecond science, namely, the manipulation of ultrafast processes with a tailored sequence of attosecond pulses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10727-10732
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 19

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics

Free keywords

  • Attosecond pulses
  • Electron momentum spectroscopy
  • Photoelectric effect
  • Photoionization


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