Abstract

Coherent soft x rays are produced by high-harmonic generation in a capillary filled with Ar gas. We demonstrate that the tuning of the harmonic wavelengths with intensity and chirp arises from changes in the Ar ionization level. Control over the tuning can be achieved either by changing the average intensity of the laser pulse or by varying the quadratic spectral phase of the laser pulse. We observe an ionization-dependent blueshift of the fundamental wavelength that is directly imprinted on the harmonic wavelengths. The harmonic tuning is shown to depend on nonlinear spectral shifts of the fundamental laser pulse that are due to the plasma created by ionization, rather than directly on any chirp imposed on the fundamental wavelength.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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