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Phil Bucksbaum,  Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
April 30, 2013

The natural time scale for internal motion in atoms and small molecules is dictated by their Angstrom sizes and Rydberg binding energies to be femtoseconds or shorter. The binding fields for the outermost electrons are tens of volts per Angstrom. I will describe recent experiments designed to measure the interaction of atoms and molecules with laser fields on these scales of time and field strength. Two kinds of laser sources are employed: Strong focused infrared lasers create these extreme conditions within a single optical cycle, and thereby induce atomic phenomena that evolve during fractions of a femtosecond. This is the regime of high harmonic generation. X-ray free electron lasers can also produce these extreme fields, but at much higher oscillation frequencies. This is the regime of rapid inner shell ionization and Auger relaxation.


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