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Cornell University researchers have developed nanostructures that enable record-breaking conversion of laser pulses into high-harmonic generation. The work paves the way for new scientific tools for high-resolution imaging as well as the study of physical processes that occur at the scale of an attosecond.
High harmonic generation is used to merge photons from a pulsed laser into one ultrashort photon with higher energy, producing extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light and x-rays used for a variety of scientific purposes. Gases have traditionally been used as sources of harmonics, but a research team led by Gennady Shvets in the College of Engineering found that engineered nanostructures constitute an easier solution.