Anne L’Huillier: From extreme nonlinear optics to ultrafast atomic physics

A plenary presentation from SPIE Photonics Europe 2018.

01 May 2018

Anne L’Huillier, Lund Univ]ersity (Sweden)

In this plenary presentation, Anne L'Huillier, introduces the physics of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) and attosecond pulses.

High-order harmonic generation in gases and its applications is an active field of research worldwide. High-order harmonics are created when intense laser radiation interacts with a gas of atoms or molecules. In the time domain, the emission is a train of pulses in the extreme ultraviolet range, separated by half a laser cycle and with attosecond duration. The interference between attosecond pulses results in a frequency comb of high-order (odd) harmonics.

Today, there is an increased diversity of HHG sources driven by a variety of lasers ranging from high energy lasers at low repetition rate to high average power lasers, based upon optical parametric amplification or simply high-power oscillators. HHG sources can be vastly different, with parameters such as peak power or repetition rate varying by several orders of magnitude. There is also a growing diversity of HHG applications spanning many areas from atomic and molecular physics to condensed matter. 

L'Huillier focuses on the use of attosecond pulses to probe photoionization dynamics in atoms.

Anne L'Huillier, defended her PhD at the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, Saclay, France in 1986. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Chalmers Institute of Technology, Gothenburg (1986), University of Southern California (1988), and a visiting scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1993). She was employed as researcher in Saclay, France until she moved to Lund University, Sweden in 1995 and became full professor in 1997.

Her research is centered around the generation of high-order harmonics of the laser light and its applications, especially in attosecond science. Her research group at the Lund Laser Center is one of the few groups in the world producing routinely short attosecond pulses via harmonic generation and exploring applications of this source of radiation.

Anne L'Huillier is on the Nobel Committee for Physics (2010), and has been a member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences since 2004. In 2003, she received the Julius Springer Prize. In 2011 she received a UNESCO L'Oréal award for "Women in Science." In 2013, she was awarded the Carl-Zeiss Research Award, and the Blaise Pascal Medal, and an Honorary Degree, Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC), Paris.

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