Tracing the phase of focused broadband laser pulses

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Hoff D, Krüger M, Maisenbacher L, Sayler A M, Paulus G. G, Hommelhoff P
Journal: Nature Physics
Publication year: 2017
Volume: 13
Pages range: 947–951
ISSN: 1745-2473
eISSN: 1745-2481
Language: English


Precise knowledge of the behaviour of the phase of light in a focused beam is fundamental to understanding and controlling laser-driven processes. More than a hundred years ago, an axial phase anomaly for focused monochromatic light beams was discovered and is now commonly known as the Gouy phase1,2,3,4. Recent theoretical work has brought into question the validity of applying this monochromatic phase formulation to the broadband pulses becoming ubiquitous today5,6. Based on electron backscattering at sharp nanometre-scale metal tips, a method is available to measure light fields with sub-wavelength spatial resolution and sub-optical-cycle time resolution7,8,9. Here we report such a direct, three-dimensional measurement of the spatial dependence of the optical phase of a focused, 4-fs, near-infrared pulsed laser beam. The observed optical phase deviates substantially from the monochromatic Gouy phase—exhibiting a much more complex spatial dependence, both along the propagation axis and in the radial direction. In our measurements, these significant deviations are the rule and not the exception for focused, broadband laser pulses. Therefore, we expect wide ramifications for all broadband laser–matter interactions, such as in high-harmonic and attosecond pulse generation, femtochemistry10, ophthalmological optical coherence tomography11,12 and light-wave electronics13.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Hommelhoff, Peter Prof. Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Laserphysik
Krüger, Michael
Lehrstuhl für Laserphysik

External institutions with authors

Helmholtz-Institut Jena (HI-Jena) / Helmholtz Institute Jena
Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) / Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik

How to cite

Hoff, D., Krüger, M., Maisenbacher, L., Sayler A, M., Paulus G., G., & Hommelhoff, P. (2017). Tracing the phase of focused broadband laser pulses. Nature Physics, 13, 947–951.

Hoff, Dominik, et al. "Tracing the phase of focused broadband laser pulses." Nature Physics 13 (2017): 947–951.


Last updated on 2019-09-05 at 12:40