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Intracavity generation of high order harmonics Hammond, Thomas John


The goal of this work is the generation of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation from a laser based source. To this end, we use high harmonic generation (HHG) to convert the near infrared output of a mode-locked Ti:Sapphire laser oscillator to the EUV. The requirement for HHG is a high peak intensity (>10¹³ W/cm²), which can be met by external amplification of the laser output. The method of amplification chosen for this work is a femtosecond enhancement cavity (fsEC), which stores and amplifies the output of a femtosecond mode-locked Ti:Sapphire laser by greater than a factor of 900 while maintaining the original repetition rate of 66 MHz. The design, benefits, and limitations of using a fsEC are discussed. The EUV light is created by the interaction of the amplified light with xenon gas delivered to the fsEC focus. The strong intracavity field leads to xenon plasma generation with detrimental effects on the HHG process, where it is shown that HHG is sensitive to the xenon gas and plasma dynamics. Methods of minimizing the plasma density and maximizing the EUV amplitude are discussed. The EUV is coupled out of the cavity, and up to the thirteenth harmonic (61 nm) of the laser is observed. The relative amplitudes of the different quantum trajectories generating the harmonics are calculated theoretically, and compared to experiment. The generated power of the eleventh harmonic (72 nm) is estimated to be 30μW, with a measured outcoupled power of 1.1μW. The relative intensity noise is also measured, with a cumulative root-mean-square (RMS) noise of <1.2% over 100 Hz - 100 kHz bandwidth. In comparison to other laser based HHG systems, while the EUV flux is similar, the cumulative RMS noise is an order of magnitude lower.

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