We experimentally demonstrate that temporally confined spatial solitons can be realized by space-time coupled propagation of strong femtosecond pulses in a nonlinear optical resonator, consisting of periodic layered Kerr media (PLKM). A universal relationship between the characteristic beam size and the critical nonlinear phase of the solitary modes is revealed, defining different regions of soliton stability. Taking advantage of the unique characters of these solitary modes, we demonstrate supercontinuum generation and pulse compression of initially 260 μJ, 170 fs pulses down to 22 fs in a single-stage PLKM resonator with an efficiency >90%.
It has long been known that ferromagnets undergo a phase transition from ferromagnetic to paramagnetic at the Curie temperature, associated with critical phenomena such as a divergence in the heat capacity. A ferromagnet can also be transiently demagnetized by heating it with an ultrafast laser pulse. However, to date the connection between out-ofequilibrium and equilibrium phase transitions was not known, nor how fast the out-of-equilibrium phase transitions can proceed. In this work, by combining time- and angle-resolved photoemission (Tr-ARPES) with time-resolved transverse magneto-optical Kerr (Tr-TMOKE) spectroscopies, we show that the same critical behavior also governs the ultrafast magnetic phase transition in nickel. This is evidenced by several observations. First, we observe a divergence of the transient heat capacity of the electron spin system preceding material demagnetization. Second, when the electron temperature is transiently driven above the Curie temperature, we observe an extremely rapid change in the material response: the spin system absorbs sufficient energy within the first 20 fs to subsequently proceed through the phase transition, while demagnetization and the collapse of the exchange splitting occur on much longer timescales. Third, we find that the transient electron temperature alone dictates the magnetic response. By comparing results obtained from different methods, we show that the critical behaviors are essential for fully explaining the fluence-dependent magnetization dynamics measured using magneto-optical spectroscopy
Tabletop-scale coherent EUV generated through high-harmonic generation (HHG) produces light in the form of an attosecond pulse train that uniquely combines characteristics of good energy resolution (≈100-300meV) with sub-fs time resolution. This makes HHG an ideal source for studying the fastest dynamics in materials. Furthermore, using angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES), it is possible to extract detailed information about electron dynamics over the entire Brillouin zone. In recently published work, we combined HHG with ARPES to identify a sub-femtosecond excited-state lifetime for the first time. Photoemission occurs as a three-step process: 1) An electron is photoexcited from the valence band to far above the Fermi energy; 2) it transports to the surface, and 3) it overcomes the work function and exits. If the electron is promoted into a highlyexcited unoccupied band in the material (as opposed to a free-electron-like state), we observe the electron emission lifetime to increase in a measurable way—the Ni band 22 eV above the Fermi level has a lifetime of 212±30 attoseconds. Furthermore, by comparing photoemission from Cu and Ni, we reveal the influence of attosecond-timescale electron screening vs scattering by the electrons near the fermi surface. This work for the first time demonstrates the relevance of attosecond spectroscopy to the study of intrinsic properties and band structure in materials, as opposed to the strong-field induced dynamics studied extensively to-date.