Abstract

We demonstrate the use of a plasma mirror to obtain 60-fs 10-TW laser pulses with a temporal contrast of 108 on a nanosecond time scale and 106 on a picosecond time scale, and we use these high-contrast pulses to generate high harmonics by nonlinear reflection on a plasma with a steep electronic density gradient. Well-collimated harmonics up to 20th order are observed for a laser intensity of 3×1017 W/cm2, whereas no harmonics are obtained without the plasma mirror.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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