Light: Science & Applications                          volume  13, Article number: 108  (2024 )             Cite

Strong-field photoelectron holography in the subcycle limit

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2024-05-15 11:30:11

Light: Science & Applications volume  13, Article number: 108 (2024 ) Cite this article

Strong-field photoelectron holography is promising for the study of electron dynamics and structure in atoms and molecules, with superior spatiotemporal resolution compared to conventional electron and X-ray diffractometry. However, the application of strong-field photoelectron holography has been hindered by inter-cycle interference from multicycle fields. Here, we address this challenge by employing a near-single-cycle field to suppress the inter-cycle interference. We observed and separated two distinct holographic patterns for the first time. Our measurements allow us not only to identify the Gouy phase effect on electron wavepackets and holographic patterns but also to correctly extract the internuclear separation of the target molecule from the holographic pattern. Our work leads to a leap jump from theory to application in the field of strong-field photoelectron holography-based ultrafast imaging of molecular structures.

The understanding and visualizing transient molecular structures have been pursued in the field of ultrafast science. Conventional electron and X-ray diffraction methods have been employed for high-resolution imaging of molecules with angstrom-level precision; however, their temporal resolution has remained limited to femtosecond timescales, primarily capturing nuclear dynamics. Recent advancements in laser technology have opened new avenues for tabletop laser-based imaging methods such as ultrafast electron diffraction, laser-induced electron diffraction, and strong-field photoelectron holography (SFPH)1,2,3,4,5,6. Among them, the SFPH has gained widespread attention owing to its remarkable capability to provide rich information about the target structure and underlying dynamic processes, offering superior sub-angstrom spatial and attosecond temporal resolutions7,8,9,10,11,12.

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