Abstract

High-order harmonic generation (HHG) in plasmas induced by ultrashort, relativistic-intensity laser pulses on solid surfaces can provide an efficient source of attosecond pulses and opens routes toward new regimes of laser–matter interactions, x-ray generation, laser particle acceleration, and relativistic nonlinear optics. However, field intensities in the range of Irel1019  W/cm2 are typically needed to achieve the relativistic regime of HHG in experiments with near-infrared laser pulses. Here, we show that, in the mid-infrared range, due to the λ2 scaling of Irel with the driver wavelength λ, relativistic HHG can be observed at much lower levels of laser field intensities. High-peak-power 80-fs, 3.9-μm pulses are focused in our experiments on a solid surface to provide field intensities in the range of 1017  W/cm2. Remarkably, this level of field intensities, considered as low by the standards of relativistic optics in the near infrared, is shown to be sufficient for generation of high-order harmonics with signature properties of relativistic HHG—beam directionality, spectra with extended plateaus, and a high HHG yield sustained for both p- and s-polarized driver fields.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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