Abstract

High-contrast, intense single-cycle pulses are highly desirable tools in ultrafast science, enabling highest temporal resolution, pushing matter to extreme conditions, and serving as drivers in petahertz electronics. In this Letter, we use thin solid plates in a double multi-plate supercontinuum configuration, delivering a broadband spectrum spanning from $\sim\!{400}$ to $\sim\!{1000}\;{\rm nm}$ at the $ - {20}\;{\rm dB}$ intensity level to produce a single-cycle pulse. We show that the spectral broadening by self-phase modulation with few-cycle pulses is more suitable for compression than the single-cycle limit than with multi-cycle pulses. The pulses are compressed to 2.6 fs pulses, close to the transform limit of 2.55 fs, with an energy of 0.235 mJ. They exhibit an excellent power stability of 0.5% rms over 3 h and a beam profile. The obtained single-cycle pulses can be utilized in many applications, such as generation of isolated attosecond pulses via high-order harmonic generation, investigation of ultrafast phenomena with extreme temporal resolution, or high-intensity laser-solid experiments.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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