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- THEORETICAL MODELING OF ULTRAFAST OPTICAL-FIELD INDUCED PHOTOELECTRON EMISSION FROM BIASED METAL SURFACES
- Luo, Yi
- Electronic Theses & Dissertations
Laser-induced electron emission from nanostructures offers a platform to coherently control electron dynamics in ultrashort spatiotemporal scales, making it important to both fundamental research and a broad range of applications, such as to ultrafast electron microscopy, diffraction, attosecond electronics, strong-field nano-optics, tabletop particle accelerators, free electron lasers, and novel nanoscale vacuum devices. This thesis analytically studies nonlinear ultrafast photoelectron...
Show moreLaser-induced electron emission from nanostructures offers a platform to coherently control electron dynamics in ultrashort spatiotemporal scales, making it important to both fundamental research and a broad range of applications, such as to ultrafast electron microscopy, diffraction, attosecond electronics, strong-field nano-optics, tabletop particle accelerators, free electron lasers, and novel nanoscale vacuum devices. This thesis analytically studies nonlinear ultrafast photoelectron emission from biased metal surfaces, by solving the time-dependent Schrödinger equation exactly. Our study provides better understanding of the ultrafast control of electrons and offers useful guidance for the future design of ultrafast nanoelectronics. First, we present an analytical model for photoemission driven by two-color laser fields. We study the electron energy spectra and emission current modulation under various laser intensities, frequencies, and relative phase between the two lasers. We find strong modulation for both the energy spectra and emission current (with a modulation depth up to 99%) due to the interference effect of the two-color lasers. Using the same input parameter, our theoretical prediction for the photoemission current modulation depth (93.9%) is almost identical to the experimental measurement (94%). Next, to investigate the role of dc field, we construct an analytical model for two-color laser induced photoemission from dc biased metal surfaces. We systematically examine the combined effects of a dc electric field and two-color laser fields. We find the strong modulation in two-color photoemission persists even with a strong dc electric field. In addition, the dc field opens up more tunneling emission channels and thus increases the total emission current. Application of our model to time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy is also demonstrated, showing the dynamics of the n-photon excited states depends strongly on the applied dc field. We then propose to utilize two lasers of the same frequency to achieve the interference modulation of photoemission by their relative phase. This is motivated by the easier access to single-frequency laser pairs than two-color lasers in experiments. We find a strong current modulation (> 90%) can be achieved with a moderate ratio of the laser fields (< 0.4) even under a strong dc bias. Our study demonstrates the capability of measuring the time-resolved photoelectron energy spectra using single-frequency laser pairs. We further extend our exact analytic model to photoelectron emission induced by few-cycle laser pulses. The single formulation is valid from photon-driven electron emission in low intensity optical fields to field-driven emission in high intensity optical fields, and is valid for arbitrary pulse length from sub-cycle to CW excitation, and for arbitrary pulse repetition rate. We find the emitted charge per pulse oscillatorily increases with pulse repetition rate, due to varying coherent interaction of neighboring laser pulses. For a well-separated single pulse, our results recover the experimentally observed vanishing carrier-envelope phase sensitivity in the optical-field regime. We also find that applying a large dc field to the photoemitter is able to greatly enhance the photoemission current and in the meantime substantially shorten the current pulse. Finally, we construct analytical models for nonlinear photoelectron emission in a nanoscale metal-vacuum-metal gap. Our results reveal the energy redistribution of photoelectrons across the two interfaces between the gap and the metals. Additionally, we find that decreasing the gap distance tends to extend the multiphoton regime to higher laser intensity. The effect of dc bias is also studied in detail.