WIAS Preprint No. 2423, (2017)

Symmetry breaking and strong persistent plasma currents via resonant destabilization of atoms


  • Brée, Carsten
  • Hofmann, Michael
  • Babushkin, Ihar
  • Demircan, Ayhan
  • Morgner, Uwe
  • Kosareva, Olga G.
  • Savel'ev, Andrei B.
  • Husakou, Anton
  • Ivanov, Misha

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 78A60 35P25

2008 Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme

  • 32.80.Rm 42.65.Ky 42.50.Hz


  • THz light generation, photoionization, multiphoton processes




The ionization rate of an atom in a strong optical field can be resonantly enhanced by the presence of long-living atomic levels (so called Freeman resonances). This process is most prominent in the multiphoton ionization regime meaning that ionization event takes many optical cycles. Nevertheless, here we show that these resonances can lead to fast subcycle-scale plasma buildup at the resonant values of the intensity in the pump pulse. The fast buildup can break the cycle-to-cycle symmetry of the ionization process, resulting in generation of persistent macroscopic plasma currents which remain after the end of the pulse. This, in turn, gibes rise to a broad-band radiation of unusual spectral structure forming a comb from terahertz (THz) to visible. This radiation contains fingerprints of the attosecond electronic dynamics in Rydberg states during ionization.

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