Abstract

High-order harmonic generation from atomic systems is considered in the crossed fields of a relativistically strong infrared laser and a weak attosecond pulse train of soft x rays. Due to one-photon ionization by the x-ray pulse, the ionized electron obtains a starting momentum that compensates the relativistic drift, which is induced by the laser magnetic field, and allows the electron to efficiently emit harmonic radiation upon recombination with the atomic core in the relativistic regime. This way, short pulses of coherent hard x rays of up to 40keV energy can be generated.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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