Solid-state light-phase detector

Tim Paasch-Colberg, Agustin Eduardo Schiffrin, Nicholas Karpowicz, Stanislav Yu Kruchinin, Ozge Saglam, Sabine Keiber, Olga Razskazovskaya, Sascha Muhlbrandt, Ali Sami Alnaser, Matthias Kubel, Vadym M Apalkov, Daniel Gerster, Joachim Reichert, Tibor Wittmann, Johannes V Barth, Mark Ilich Stockman, Ralph Ernstorfer, Vladislav S Yakovlev, Reinhard Kienberger, Ferenc Krausz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Attosecond science relies on the use of intense, waveform-controlled, few-cycle laser pulses to control extreme nonlinear optical processes taking place within a fraction of an optical period. A number of techniques are available for retrieving the amplitude envelope and chirp of such few-cycle laser pulses. However, their full characterization requires detection of the absolute offset between the rapidly oscillating carrier wave and the pulse envelope, the carrier-envelope phase (CEP). So far, this has only been feasible with photoelectron spectroscopy, relying on complex vacuum set-ups. Here, we present a technique that enables the detection of the CEP of few-cycle laser pulses under ambient conditions. This is based on the CEP-dependence of directly measurable electric currents generated by the electric field of light in a metal-dielectric-metal nanojunction. The device holds promise for routine measurement and monitoring of the CEP in attosecond laboratories
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214 - 218
Number of pages5
JournalNature Photonics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Infrared radiation
  • carrier-envelope phase
  • Harmonic generation

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