Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube

Photoelectron and photoion spectroscopy of atoms, nanoparticles, and nanoplasmas irradiated with strong femtosecond laser fields

TitlePhotoelectron and photoion spectroscopy of atoms, nanoparticles, and nanoplasmas irradiated with strong femtosecond laser fields
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHickstein, DD
Academic DepartmentPhysics
DegreePh. D.
Number of Pages137
Date Published12-2014
UniversityUniversity of Colorado
CityBoulder, CO
Abstract

Modern femtosecond lasers can produce pulses of light that are shorter than the vibrational periods in molecules and have electric fields stronger than the Coulomb field that binds electrons in atoms. These short-pulse lasers enable the observation of chemical reactions, the production of attosecond bursts of high-energy photons, and the precision-machining of solid materials with minimal heat transport to the material. In this thesis, I describe three experiments that provide new insight into strong-field (1014 Watts/cm2) femtosecond laser-matter interactions in three important regimes. First, I discuss the strong-field ionization of gas-phase atoms, identify a new structure in the photoelectron angular distribution of xenon gas, and explain this structure by developing an intuitive wave interference model. Second, I describe a new method to perform photoelectron and photoion spectroscopy on single, isolated nanoparticles and demonstrate this technique by observing the directional ion ejection that takes place in the laser ablation of nanostructures. Finally, I present the first experimental observations of shock wave propagation in nanoscale plasmas. These findings will guide future efforts to probe the structure and dynamics of atoms and molecules on the femtosecond timescale, design nanomaterials that enhance light on the subwavelength scale, and produce high-energy ions from plasmas.