Generation of ultrashort laser pulses demands two prerequisites: a broad spectral bandwidth due to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and a proper management of the intrinsic dispersion of the media and optics comprising the laser system. For the generation of few-cycle pulses, the spectral bandwidth of laser pulses can easily stretch over an octave with sufficient nonlinear interactions in a noble gas-filled hollow-core fiber, whereas the second and higher order dispersions induced by the nonlinear interaction processes significantly affect the temporal shape and duration of the ultrashort laser pulse. Consequently, the sophisticated control of intrinsic dispersion is particularly essential to obtain few-cycle pulses. In this letter, H. Timmers et al.
offer the ultrafast optics community ammonium dihydrogen phosphate (ADP) as a new optical medium for few-cycle pulses, and specifically aims at managing the third-order dispersion by using its unusually high ratio of third- to second-order dispersion. With clever use of ADP, the authors can successfully compensate the third-order dispersion, and generate a 2.9-fs pulse, near-transform limited in a given spectral bandwidth. It is clearly expected that few-cycle pulses temporally compressed by ADP can have various applications in the area of high-field physics, including the generation of isolated attosecond pulses, as the authors also demonstrate.
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