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The combination of several high order harmonics can produce an attosecond pulse train, provided that the harmonics are locked in phase to each other. We present calculations that evaluate the degree of phase locking that is achieved in argon and neon gases interacting with an intense, 50 fs laser pulse, for a range of macroscopic conditions. We find that phase locking depends on both the temporal and the spatial phase behavior of the harmonics, as determined by the interplay between the intrinsic dipole phase and the phase matching in the nonlinear medium. We show that, as a consequence of this, it is not possible to compensate for a lack of phase locking by purely temporal phase manipulation. © 2002 The American Physical Society.

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Physical Review Letters