Attosecond Science Workshop

Coordinators: Andre Dieter Bandrauk, Nathaniel J. Fisch, Anthony F. Starace

Current technology enables for the first time the synthesis and characterization of ultra-short, ultra-intense laser pulses that in turn permit investigations of interactions of lasers with matter in a new time regime, the regime of attosecond science. Attosecond science is a main "spin-off" of strong field (i.e., intense laser) physics, in which nonperturbative effects are fundamental. The capability exists at present to produce either single attosecond pulses or attosecond pulse trains. These attosecond pulses open up new avenues for time-domain studies of multi-electron dynamics in atoms, molecules, plasmas, and solids on their natural, quantum mechanical time scale and at dimensions shorter than molecular and even atomic dimensions. These capabilities promise a revolution in our microscopic knowledge and understanding of matter.

A major role for theory in attosecond science is to elucidate novel ways to investigate and to control electronic and other processes in matter on attosecond time scales. The ingredients of appropriate theoretical formulations will likely include the fundamental concept of laser-driven, electron-ion rescattering, the unique aspects of few cycle (including single and half cycle) laser pulse-matter interactions, and a non-perturbative theoretical framework, which is necessary to describe these highly non-linear multiphoton processes. At the same time, advances in the enabling technology of producing these pulses at higher intensities and shorter pulses may involve novel methods of short pulse generation using plasma.

The main goals of this seven week workshop are to bring experimentalists and theorists together to jointly examine and discuss in sufficient depth and detail the following general topics: (1) the key fundamental scientific issues of the dynamics of matter on attosecond time scales; (2) the current obstacles to improvement and extension of attosecond technology to shorter times and higher intensities; and (3) the directions for new applications of attosecond technology in atomic, molecular, plasma, and solid state physics as well as other fields.

From Tuesday, 1 August - Friday, 4 August 2006, we will hold a four-day conference on "Attosecond Science: Status and Prospects." One need not be a workshop participant to attend the conference. Further details about the conference are available here.

Support for the conference/program has also been provided by the Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy.