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On-chip sampling of optical fields with attosecond resolution

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posted on 2023-11-30, 20:33 authored by Mina R. Bionta, Felix Ritzkowsky, Marco Turchetti, Yujia Yang, Dario Cattozzo Mor, William P. Putnam, Franz X. Kärtner, Karl K. Berggren, Phillip D. Keathley
Time-domain sampling of arbitrary electric fields with sub-cycle resolution enables a complete time-frequency analysis of a system's response to electromagnetic illumination. This provides access to dynamic information that is not provided by absorption spectra alone, and has recently been shown through measurements in the infrared that time-domain optical-field sampling offers significant improvements with regard to molecular sensitivity and limits of detection compared to traditional spectroscopic methods. Despite the many scientific and technological motivations, time-domain, optical-field sampling systems operating in the visible to near-infrared spectral regions are seldom accessible, requiring large driving pulse energies, and large laser amplifier systems, bulky apparatuses, and vacuum environments. Here, we demonstrate an all-on-chip, optoelectronic device capable of sampling arbitrary, low-energy, near-infrared waveforms under ambient conditions. Our solid-state integrated detector uses optical-field-driven electron emission from resonant nanoantennas to achieve petahertz-level switching speeds by generating on-chip attosecond electron bursts. These bursts are used to probe the electric field of weak optical transients. We demonstrated our devices by sampling the electric field of a ~5 fJ, broadband near-infrared ultrafast laser pulse using a ~50 pJ near-infrared driving pulse. Our sampling measurements recovered the weak optical transient as well as localized plasmonic dynamics of the emitting nanoantennas $in~situ$. This field-sampling device--with its compact footprint and low pulse-energy requirements--offers opportunities in a variety of applications, including: broadband time-domain spectroscopy in the molecular fingerprint region, time-domain analysis of nonlinear phenomena, and detailed studies of strong-field light-matter interactions.



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