Abstract

A promising alternative to Gaussian beams for use in strong field science is Bessel–Gauss (BG or Bessel-like) laser beams, as they are easily produced with readily available optics and provide more flexibility of the spot size and working distances. Here we use BG beams produced with a lens-axicon optical system for higher-order harmonic generation (HHG) in a thin gas jet. The finite size of the interaction region allows for scans of the HHG yield along the propagation axis. Further, by measuring the ionization yield in unison with the extreme ultraviolet (XUV), we are able to distinguish regions of maximum ionization from regions of optimum XUV generation. This distinction is of great importance for BG fields, as the generation of BG beams with axicons often leads to oscillations of the on-axis intensity, which can be exploited for extended phase-matching conditions. We observed such oscillations in the ionization and XUV flux along the propagation axis for the first time. As is the case for Gaussian modes, the harmonic yield is not maximum at the point of highest ionization. Finally, despite Bessel beams having a hole in the center in the far field, the XUV beam is well collimated, making BG modes a great alternative when spatial filtering of the fundamental is desired.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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