Frequency-chirp rates of harmonics driven by a few-cycle pulse

M. Murakami, Louisiana State University
J. Mauritsson, Louisiana State University
M. B. Gaarde, Louisiana State University


We present numerical calculations of the time-frequency characteristics of cutoff harmonics generated by few-cycle laser pulses. We find that for driving pulses as short as three optical cycles, the adiabatic prediction for the harmonic chirp rate is very accurate. This negative chirp is so large that the resulting bandwidth causes substantial overlap between neighboring harmonics, and the harmonic phase therefore appears to not vary in time or frequency. By adding a compensating positive chirp to the driving pulse, which reduces the harmonic bandwidth and allows for the appearance of the negative chirp, we can measure the harmonic chirp rates. We also find that the positive chirp on the driving pulse causes the harmonics to shift down in frequency. We show that this counterintuitive result is caused by the change in the strong field continuum dynamics introduced by the variation of the driving frequency with time. © 2005 The American Physical Society.