Sub-cycle control of terahertz high-harmonic generation by dynamical Bloch oscillations

O. Schubert, M. Hohenleutner, F. Langer, B. Urbanek, C. Lange, U. Huttner, D. Golde, T. Meier, M. Kira, S. W. Koch, R. Huber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

545 Scopus citations


Ultrafast charge transport in strongly biased semiconductors is at the heart of high-speed electronics, electro-optics and fundamental solid-state physics. Intense light pulses in the terahertz spectral range have opened fascinating vistas. Because terahertz photon energies are far below typical electronic interband resonances, a stable electromagnetic waveform may serve as a precisely adjustable bias. Novel quantum phenomena have been anticipated for terahertz amplitudes, reaching atomic field strengths. We exploit controlled (multi-)terahertz waveforms with peak fields of 72 MV cm -1 to drive coherent interband polarization combined with dynamical Bloch oscillations in semiconducting gallium selenide. These dynamics entail the emission of phase-stable high-harmonic transients, covering the entire terahertz-to-visible spectral domain between 0.1 and 675 THz. Quantum interference of different ionization paths of accelerated charge carriers is controlled via the waveform of the driving field and explained by a quantum theory of inter- and intraband dynamics. Our results pave the way towards all-coherent terahertz-rate electronics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-123
Number of pages5
JournalNature Photonics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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