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We explore quantum beats in the photoelectron signal produced when a bound electron wave packet created by an isolated attosecond pulse is ionized by a delayed, few-cycle infrared pulse. Our calculations for helium atoms show that the broad bandwidth of the few-cycle pulse creates spectrally overlapping photoelectron peaks that result from one-, two-, or three-photon ionization processes. The beat signals can, in principle, be interferometrically resolved with high resolution, giving access to the relative phase between different multiphoton ionization pathways. For few-cycle near-infrared fields the relative spectral phases can be extracted over a large energy region, and dynamical information becomes available. We find that multiphoton ionization is temporally shifted with respect to one-photon ionization by several hundred attoseconds. Our results also reveal the impact of depletion and resonant pathways on the phase of the quantum beats.

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Physical Review A