Progress in attosecond metrology

R. Kienberger, F. Krausz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Fundamental processes in atoms, molecules, as well as condensed matter are triggered or mediated by the motion of electrons inside or between atoms. Electronic dynamics on atomic length scales tends to unfold within tens to thousands of attoseconds (1 as = 10-18 s). Recent breakthroughs in laser science are now opening the door to watching and controlling these hitherto inaccessible microscopic dynamics. The key to accessing the attosecond time domain is the control of the electric field of (visible) light, which varies its strength and direction within less than a femtosecond (1 fs = 1000 as). Atoms exposed to a few oscillation cycles of intense laser light are able to emit a single XUV burst lasting less than 1 fs. Full control of the evolution of the electromagnetic field in laser pulses comprising a few wave cycles have recently allowed the reproducible generation and measurement of isolated 250-as XUV pulses, constituting the shortest reproducible events and fastest measurement to date. These tools have enabled us to visualize the oscillating electric field of visible light with an attosecond "oscilloscope" and observing the motion of electrons in and around atoms in real time. Recent experiments hold promise for the development of an attosecond hard X-ray source, which may pave the way toward 4D electron imaging with subatomic resolution in space and time.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUltrafast Optics V
EditorsShuntaro Watanabe, Katsumi Midorikawa
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameSpringer Series in Optical Sciences
ISSN (Print)0342-4111
ISSN (Electronic)1556-1534


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