Nanostructures Are Enabling New Records In High-Harmonic Generation

Nanostructures Are Enabling New Records In High-Harmonic Generation

Can scientists develop nanostructures that enable record-breaking conversion of laser pulses into high-harmonic generation, paving the way for new scientific tools for high-resolution imaging and studying physical processes that occur at the scale of an attosecond – one quintillionth of a second?

Cornell researchers believe they can!

Traditionally high-harmonic generation has long been used to merge photons from a pulsing laser into one, ultrashort photons with much higher energy, producing extreme ultraviolet light and X-rays used for a variety of scientific purposes.

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“With our method, we envision that people can study materials beyond metasurfaces, including but not limited to crystals, 2D materials, single atoms, artificial atomic lattices and other quantum systems.” -Maxim Shcherbakov

Here is the link to Maxim Shcerbakov’s published work Generation of even and odd high harmonics in resonant metasurfaces using single and multiple ultra-intense laser pulses:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-24450-9

Nanostructures Are Enabling New Records In High-Harmonic Generation

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A nanostructure is a structure of intermediate size between microscopic and molecular structures. Nanostructural detail is microstructure at nanoscale. In describing nanostructures, it is necessary to differentiate between the number of dimensions in the volume of an object which are on the nanoscale. Nanotextured surfaces have one dimension on the nanoscale, i.e., only the thickness of the surface of an object is between 0.1 and 100 nm. Nanotubes have two dimensions on the nanoscale, i.e., the diameter of the tube is between 0.1 and 100 nm; its length can be far more. Finally, spherical nanoparticles have three dimensions on the nanoscale, i.e., the particle is between 0.1 and 100 nm in each spatial dimension. The terms nanoparticles and ultrafine particles (UFP) are often used synonymously although UFP can reach into the micrometre range. The term nanostructure is often used when referring to magnetic technology.


High harmonic generation (HHG) is a non-linear process during which a target (gas, plasma, solid or liquid sample) is illuminated by an intense laser pulse. Under such conditions, the sample will emit the high harmonics of the generation beam (above the fifth harmonic). Due to the coherent nature of the process, high harmonics generation is a prerequisite of attosecond physics.