Coherence, tunability, spectral and spatial properties of femtosecond extreme-ultraviolet light sources

Abstract : Single-pass free-electron lasers (FELs) are currently the most promising facilities for providing light pulses with high energies (µJ to mJ) at femtosecond time scales (1 fs = 10⁻¹⁵s) and with ultrashort wavelengths (nanometer resolution i.e., down to extreme-ultraviolet and X-ray spectral regions). Extreme-ultraviolet FELs are still quite young so that many questions remain open. Those addressed within this manuscript concern the so-called seeded configuration, where an external coherent source (the “seed") initiates the process. In particular, we focus in this thesis on the transverse and longitudinal characteristics of the light, its coherence, the properties of the temporal phase and the direct correlations between the seed and the FEL emission. With regard to FELs, high-order harmonics of femtosecond laser pulses generated in noble gases (HHG technique) exhibit both competitive and complementary features. Competitive, because the produced pulses have similar assets as the ones provided by an FEL. Complementary, because the generated harmonics can be used as a seed or, in combination with FEL light, to perform multi-beam experiments. Even though less powerful pulses are produced by a HHG source, its implementation requires a significantly smaller effort. The efficiency of harmonic conversion, the tunability and spatial quality of the generated beam, and how these parameters depend on the driving laser are the issues discussed within this manuscript. The general will of the scientific community to perform novel experiments requires deep studies and optimization of FEL and HHG sources. In particular, on the seeded FEL facility FERMI@Elettra of Trieste, the induction of chirp in the radiation has led to remarkable results. Among others, a method of generation of split pulses with different wavelengths has been construed and developed. Such a possibility paves the way for the use of seeded FEL facilities as stand-alone sources for two-colour pump-probe setups. More generally, the study of phenomena involved in the FEL and HHG processes, together with the characterization of the light properties, are intrinsically exciting matters that have direct connections with fundamental aspects of physics.
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Benoît Mahieu. Coherence, tunability, spectral and spatial properties of femtosecond extreme-ultraviolet light sources. Other [cond-mat.other]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI; Université de Nova Gorica (Nova Gorica, Slovénie), 2013. English. ⟨NNT : 2013PA112094⟩. ⟨tel-00967018⟩

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