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High-order harmonics generated through the interaction of atoms and strong laser fields are a versatile, laboratory-scale source of extreme ultraviolet (XUV) radiation on a femtosecond or even attosecond time-scale. In order to be a useful experimental tool, however, this radiation has to be well characterized, both temporally and spectrally. In this paper we discuss how multi-photon, multi-colour ionization processes can be used to completely characterize either individual harmonics or attosecond pulse trains. In particular, we discuss the influence of the intensity and duration of the probe laser, and how these parameters effect the accuracy of the XUV characterization. © 2005 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

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