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Special edition of EPJ-ST with Marcel Mudrich as guest editor

New era of research into light-matter interactions, in which intense, ultra-short laser pulses with infrared and optical wavelengths play a central role.

Snapshot from a MD simulation showing an exploding neon cluster after irradiation with a short intense near-infrared laser pulse.
Snapshot from a MD simulation showing an exploding neon cluster after irradiation with a short intense near-infrared laser pulse.

In 2018, physicists Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland shared a Nobel prize for their success in amplifying ultra-short laser pulses, without destroying the material required for amplification. Their achievement has ushered a new era of studies of laser-matter interactions, in which intense, ultra-short light pulses at infrared and optical wavelengths play a central role. Inspired by this achievement, Marcel Mudrich together with a colleague from IIT Madras in India has edited a topical issue collecting 20 articles by leading scientists in the field, both theorists and experimentalists. All articles are available here and are freely accessible until 4 April 2022.

For further information read the Editorial on Intense Laser Matter Interaction in Atoms, Finite Systems and Condensed Media – recent experiments and theoretical advances. Eur. Phys. J. Spec. Top. 230, 3981–3988 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1140/epjs/s11734-021-00364-x

When the strengths of light fields approach those of the extreme electric fields present within atoms, nanoparticles and condensed crystal lattices, they can induce highly nonlinear phenomena. In extreme cases, the material can be ionized and thereby transformed into a plasma with drastically altered optical properties. Current and future research in this area aims at deepening the understanding of these laser-induced plasmas leading to the development of new ways of using nano- and microplasmas for novel applications including biomedical imaging, laser-driven particle acceleration, and techniques for precise micromachining of surfaces. Another key phenomenon is the emission by matter of high-frequency harmonics of the driving laser, enabling studies of dynamical processes at the attoseconds (10^-18 s) timescale.

This collection of articles is now bringing together the efforts of leading and upcoming researchers from institutions around the world, each contributing the advancement this rich field of research.