Controlling Floquet states on ultrashort time scales


The advent of ultrafast laser science offers the unique opportunity to combine Floquet engineering with extreme time resolution, further pushing the optical control of matter into the petahertz domain. However, what is the shortest driving pulse for which Floquet states can be realised remains an unsolved matter, thus limiting the application of Floquet theory to pulses composed by many optical cycles. Here we ionized Ne atoms with few-femtosecond pulses of selected time duration and show that a Floquet state can be observed already with a driving field that lasts for only 10 cycles. For shorter pulses, down to 2 cycles, the finite lifetime of the driven state can still be explained using an analytical model based on Floquet theory. By demonstrating that the amplitude and number of Floquet-like sidebands in the photoelectron spectrum can be controlled not only with the driving laser pulse intensity and frequency, but also by its duration, our results add a new lever to the toolbox of Floquet engineering. Floquet engineering aims at inducing new properties in materials with light. Here the authors have used pulses of variable durations, to investigate its applicability in the femtosecond domain. Surprisingly, they found that it holds to the few-cycle limit.

Nature Communications
Umberto De Giovannini
Umberto De Giovannini
Assistant Professor