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We present a spatiotemporal analysis of high harmonic generation, showing evidence for the presence of several quantum path contributions to the atomic dipole moment. We show that the harmonic radiation can largely be described as a sum of two fields having a phase proportional to the intensity of the generating field. We compare our results to recent experimental results demonstrating this separation [M. Bellini et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 81, 297 (1998)]. We show how the temporal and spatial coherence properties are influenced by this effect, and discuss how it could be used to obtain better control of the generated harmonic radiation. © 1999 The American Physical Society.

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Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

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