The physical description of a laser field uniquely in terms of electric and magnetic fields transverse to the laser propagation direction is not purely valid. An accurate electrodynamic treatment of the motion of photoelectrons standing in a laser beam requires, first of all, an exact description of the electromagnetic field. Essentially, this requirement demands to go beyond an unidirectionality of the electric and magnetic field vectors (i.e., beyond a plane-polarized electromagnetic wave) to adequately take into account the beam divergence1-4; longitudinal field components have to be considered.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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