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Yanagisawa, Hirofumi; Schnepp, Sascha; Hafner, Christian; Hengsberger, Matthias; Kim, Dong Eon; Kling, Matthias F.; Landsman, Alexandra; Gallmann, Lukas and Osterwalder, Jürg (2016): Delayed electron emission in strong-field driven tunnelling from a metallic nanotip in the multi-electron regime. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, 35877 [PDF, 2MB]

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Illuminating a nano-sized metallic tip with ultrashort laser pulses leads to the emission of electrons due to multiphoton excitations. As optical fields become stronger, tunnelling emission directly from the Fermi level becomes prevalent. This can generate coherent electron waves in vacuum leading to a variety of attosecond phenomena. Working at high emission currents where multi-electron effects are significant, we were able to characterize the transition from one regime to the other. Specifically, we found that the onset of laser-driven tunnelling emission is heralded by the appearance of a peculiar delayed emission channel. In this channel, the electrons emitted via laser-driven tunnelling emission are driven back into the metal, and some of the electrons reappear in the vacuum with some delay time after undergoing inelastic scattering and cascading processes inside the metal. Our understanding of these processes gives insights on attosecond tunnelling emission from solids and should prove useful in designing new types of pulsed electron sources.

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