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Ultra-fast three and four-electron dynamics in intense electro-magnetic laser fields

Funder: UK Research and InnovationProject code: EP/W005352/1
Funded under: EPSRC Funder Contribution: 430,851 GBP

Ultra-fast three and four-electron dynamics in intense electro-magnetic laser fields

Description

Ultra-short and ultra-intense laser pulses provide an impressive camera into the world of electron motion. Attoseconds and sub-femtoseconds are the natural time scale of multi-electron dynamics during the ionization and break-up of atoms and molecules. The overall aim of the proposed work is to investigate attosecond phenomena, pathways of correlated electron dynamics and effects due to the magnetic field of light in three and four-electron ionization in atoms and molecules triggered by intense near-infrared and mid-infrared laser pulses. Correlated electron dynamics is of fundamental interest to attosecond technology. For instance, an electron extracted from an atom or molecule carries information for probing the spatio-temporal properties of an ionic system with angstrom resolution and attosecond precision paving the way for holography with photoelectrons. Moreover, studies of effects due to the magnetic field of light in correlated multi-electron processes are crucial for understanding a variety of chemical and biological processes, such as the response of driven chiral molecules. Chiral molecules are not superimposable to their mirror image and are of particular interest, since they are abundant in nature. The proposed research will explore highly challenging ultra-fast phenomena involving three and four-electron dynamics and effects due to the magnetic field of light in driven atoms and during the break-up of driven two and three-center molecules. We will investigate the physical mechanisms that underly these phenomena and devise schemes to probe and control them. Exploring these ultra-fast phenomena constitutes a scientific frontier due to the fast advances in attosecond technology. These fundamental processes are largely unexplored since most theoretical studies are developed in a framework that does not account for the magnetic field of light. Moreover, correlated three and four-electron escape is currently beyond the reach of quantum mechanical techniques. Hence, new theoretical tools are urgently needed to address the challenges facing attoscience. In response to this quest, we will develop novel, efficient and cutting-edge semi-classical methods that are much faster than quantum-mechanical ones, allow for significant insights into the physical mechanisms, compliment experimental results and predict novel ultra-fast phenomena. These semi-classical techniques are appropriate for ionization processes through long-range Coulomb forces. Using these techniques, we will address some of the most fundamental problems facing attoscience. Our objectives are: 1) Identify and time-resolve novel pathways of correlated three-electron dynamics in atoms driven by near-infrared and mid-infrared laser pulses. 2) Explore effects due to the magnetic field of light in correlated two and three-electron escape during ionization in atoms as well as in two and three-center molecules driven by near-infrared and mid-infrared laser pulses that are either linearly or elliptically polarized or by vector beams, i.e. "twisted" laser fields, an intriguing form of light that twists like a helical corkscrew. 3) Control correlated multi-electron ionization and the formation of highly exited Rydberg states in four-active-electron three-center molecules by employing two-color laser fields or vector beams.

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