Control of electron recollision and molecular nonsequential double ionization


Intense laser pulses lasting a few optical cycles, are able to ionize molecules via different mechanisms. One such mechanism involves a process whereby within one optical period an electron tunnels away from the molecule, and is then accelerated and driven back as the laser field reverses its direction, colliding with the parent molecule and causing correlated non-sequential double ionization (NSDI). Here we report control over NSDI via spectral-phase pulse shaping of femtosecond laser pulses. The measurements are carried out on ethane molecules using shaped pulses. We find that the shaped pulses can enhance or suppress the yield of dications resulting from electron recollision by factors of 3 to 6. This type of shaped pulses is likely to impact all phenomena stemming from electron recollision processes induced by strong laser fields such as above threshold ionization, high harmonic generation, attosecond pulse generation, and laser-induced electron diffraction.