• High Power Laser Science and Engineering
  • Vol. 9, Issue 4, 04000e66 (2021)
Xinhua Xie1、*, Yunpei Deng1, and Steven L. Johnson1、2
Author Affiliations
  • 1SwissFEL, Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen, Switzerland
  • 2Institute for Quantum Electronics, Physics Department, ETH Zurich, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
  • show less

    Abstract

    We report on compact and robust supercontinuum generation and post-compression using transmission of light through multiple thin solid plates at the SwissFEL X-ray free-electron laser facility. A single stage consisting of three thin plates followed by a chirped mirror compressor achieves compression of initially 30-fs pulses with 800-nm center wavelength to sub-10-fs duration. We also demonstrate a two-stage implementation to compress the pulses further to sub-5-fs duration. With the two-stage setup, the generated supercontinuum includes wavelengths ranging from 500 to 1100 nm. The multi-plate setup is compact, robust, and stable, which makes it ideal for applications at free-electron laser facilities such as pump-probe experiments and laser-arrival timing tools.

    1 Introduction

    Electronic and nuclear dynamics play essential roles in the properties and functions of matter[1]. Such dynamics span timescales from picoseconds down to attoseconds[27]. In many cases, ultrashort pulses are required to initiate and probe the selected dynamics. Such pulses can be provided by both optical-frequency lasers and free-electron lasers (FELs)[810]. Optical-wavelength pulses can reach pulse durations down to a few femtoseconds and, high-order harmonic generation, can in turn be used to produce pulses in the extreme ultraviolet/soft X-ray spectral regime with pulse durations below 100 attoseconds[3]. In the past decades, these pulses have been successfully applied to many studies of ultrafast dynamics in gases and solids (see Chang[11] and Nisoli et al.[12] and references therein). One of the major limitations of these high-harmonic sources is low photon flux at photon energies above 200 eV.