Abstract

Atoms exposed to intense light lose one or more electrons and become ions. In strong fields, the process was predicted to occur via tunnelling through the binding potential suppressed by the light field near the peaks of its oscillations. Here we report the first real-time observation of this most elementary step in strong-field interactions: light-induced electron tunnelling. The process is found to deplete atomic bound states in sharp steps lasting several hundred attoseconds.

© 2007 IEEE

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