Université Paul Sabatier - Bat. 3R1b4 - 118 route de Narbonne 31062 Toulouse Cedex 09, France

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Strong field interaction of a femtosecond laser with metallic nanotips

Our experiment aims at investigating the interaction between ultrashort laser pulses and single metallic nanotips. Our goal is to extend to coherent control schemes performed so far on simple atomic and molecular systems to simple solid-state systems and electronic matter waves. The possibility to add a static field on top of the laser electric field adds a new degree of freedom for the control. This kind of system is also very promising for electron quantum optics.

This project benefits from several collaborations in the Toulouse science campus : the nanomaterials group at CEMES, the Theory and Ion-matter interaction groups at LCAR, and the Clusters group at LPT.

In our experiment, we focus ultrashort laser pulses (20 fs duration, 800nm wavelength, 62 MHz repetition rate) onto a metallic tip with intensities in the range of 1012 W/cm2. This leads to laser-induced emission of ultrashort electron wavepackets. We perform several types of measurements on these electrons in order to identify the physical mechanisms of the interaction. We are also interested in the quantum properties of the electrons.

Both tungsten tips and carbon tips are used in the experiment. The carbon nanotip is a new innovative nanostructure developed recently at CEMES (Houdellier et al., Carbon 2012) based on a carbon nanotube. It showed exceptional mechanical and electrical properties. Our experiment is the first one to investigate the interaction between this carbon nanotube tip and ultrashort femtosecond pulses.

Reference :

M.R. Bionta, B. Chalopin, J.P. Champeaux, S. Faure, A. Masseboeuf, P. Moretto-Capelle, and B. Chatel, Laser-induced electron emission from a tungsten nanotip : identifying above threshold photoemission using energy-resolved laser power dependencies, to appear in Journal of Modern Optics.