Homodyne High-harmonic Spectroscopy: Coherent Imaging of a Unimolecular Chemical Reaction

Title: Homodyne High-harmonic Spectroscopy: Coherent Imaging of a Unimolecular Chemical Reaction
Authors: Beaudoin Bertrand, Julien
Date: 2012
Abstract: At the heart of high harmonic generation lies a combination of optical and collision physics entwined by a strong laser field. An electron, initially tunnel-ionized by the field, driven away then back in the continuum, finally recombines back to rest in its initial ground state via a radiative transition. The emitted attosecond (atto=10^-18) XUV light pulse carries all the information (polarization, amplitude and phase) about the photorecombination continuum-to-ground transition dipolar field. Photorecombination is related to the time-reversed photoionization process. In this perspective, high-harmonic spectroscopy extends well-established photoelectron spectroscopy, based on charged particle detection, to a fully coherent one, based on light characterization. The main achievement presented in this thesis is to use high harmonic generation to probe femtosecond (femto=10^-15) chemical dynamics for the first time. Thanks to the coherence imposed by the strong driving laser field, homodyne detection of attosecond pulses from excited molecules undergoing dynamics is achieved, the signal from unexcited molecules acting as the reference local oscillator. First, applying time-resolved high-harmonic spectroscopy to the photodissociation of a diatomic molecule, Br2 to Br + Br, allows us to follow the break of a chemical bond occurring in a few hundreds of femtoseconds. Second, extending it to a triatomic (NO2) lets us observe both the previously unseen (but predicted) early femtosecond conical intersection dynamics followed by the late picosecond statistical photodissociation taking place in the reaction NO2 to NO + O. Another important realization of this thesis is the development of a complementary technique to time-resolved high-harmonic spectroscopy called LAPIN, for Linked Attosecond Phase INterferometry. When combined together, time-resolved high-harmonic spectroscopy and LAPIN give access to the complex photorecombination dipole of aligned excited molecules. These achievements lay the basis for electron recollision tomographic imaging of a chemical reaction with unprecedented angstrom (1 angstrom= 0.1 nanometer) spatial resolution. Other contributions dedicated to the development of attosecond science and the generalization of high-harmonic spectroscopy as a novel, fully coherent molecular spectroscopy will also be presented in this thesis.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/23173
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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