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We use a train of sub-200 attosecond extreme ultraviolet (XUV) pulses with energies just above the ionization threshold in argon to create a train of temporally localized electron wave packets. We study the energy transfer from a strong infrared (IR) laser field to the ionized electrons as a function of the delay between the XUV and IR fields. When the wave packets are born at the zero crossings of the IR field, a significant amount of energy (∼20eV) is transferred from the field to the electrons. This results in dramatically enhanced above-threshold ionization in conditions where the IR field alone does not induce any significant ionization. Because both the energy and duration of the wave packets can be varied independently of the IR laser, they are valuable tools for studying and controlling strong-field processes. © 2005 The American Physical Society.

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Physical Review Letters