Article

Laser-induced Field Emission from Tungsten Tip: Optical Control of Emission Sites and Emission Process

Physical review. B, Condensed matter (Impact Factor: 3.77). 01/2010; DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.81.115429
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT Field-emission patterns from a clean tungsten tip apex induced by femtosecond laser pulses have been investigated. Strongly asymmetric field-emission intensity distributions are observed depending on three parameters: (1) the polarization of the light, (2) the azimuthal and (3) the polar orientation of the tip apex relative to the laser incidence direction. In effect, we have realized an ultrafast pulsed field-emission source with site selectivity of a few tens of nanometers. Simulations of local fields on the tip apex and of electron emission patterns based on photo-excited nonequilibrium electron distributions explain our observations quantitatively. Electron emission processes are found to depend on laser power and tip voltage. At relatively low laser power and high tip voltage, field-emission after two-photon photo-excitation is the dominant process. At relatively low laser power and low tip voltage, photoemission processes are dominant. As the laser power increases, photoemission from the tip shank becomes noticeable. Comment: 12 pages, 12 figures, submitted to Physical Review B

0 Bookmarks
 · 
77 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Attosecond science is based on steering electrons with the electric field of well controlled femtosecond laser pulses. It has led to the generation of extreme-ultraviolet pulses with a duration of less than 100 attoseconds (ref. 3; 1 as = 10(-18) s), to the measurement of intramolecular dynamics (by diffraction of an electron taken from the molecule under scrutiny) and to ultrafast electron holography. All these effects have been observed with atoms or molecules in the gas phase. Electrons liberated from solids by few-cycle laser pulses are also predicted to show a strong light-phase sensitivity, but only very small effects have been observed. Here we report that the spectra of electrons undergoing photoemission from a nanometre-scale tungsten tip show a dependence on the carrier-envelope phase of the laser, with a current modulation of up to 100 per cent. Depending on the carrier-envelope phase, electrons are emitted either from a single sub-500-attosecond interval of the 6-femtosecond laser pulse, or from two such intervals; the latter case leads to spectral interference. We also show that coherent elastic re-scattering of liberated electrons takes place at the metal surface. Owing to field enhancement at the tip, a simple laser oscillator reaches the peak electric field strengths required for attosecond experiments at 100-megahertz repetition rates, rendering complex amplified laser systems dispensable. Practically, this work represents a simple, extremely sensitive carrier-envelope phase sensor, which could be shrunk in volume to about one cubic centimetre. Our results indicate that the attosecond techniques developed with (and for) atoms and molecules can also be used with solids. In particular, we foresee subfemtosecond, subnanometre probing of collective electron dynamics (such as plasmon polaritons) in solid-state systems ranging in scale from mesoscopic solids to clusters and to single protruding atoms.
    Nature 07/2011; 475(7354):78-81. · 38.60 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

View
34 Downloads
Available from
May 21, 2014