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Title: Anisotropic high-harmonic generation in bulk crystals

The microscopic valence electron density determines the optical, electronic, structural and thermal properties of materials. However, current techniques for measuring this electron charge density are limited: for example, scanning tunnelling microscopy is confined to investigations at the surface, and electron diffraction requires very thin samples to avoid multiple scattering. Therefore, an optical method is desirable for measuring the valence charge density of bulk materials. Since the discovery of high-harmonic generation (HHG) in solids, there has been growing interest in using HHG to probe the electronic structure of solids. Here, using single-crystal MgO, we demonstrate that high-harmonic generation in solids is sensitive to interatomic bonding. We find that harmonic efficiency is enhanced (diminished) for semi-classical electron trajectories that connect (avoid) neighbouring atomic sites in the crystal. Finally, these results indicate the possibility of using materials’ own electrons for retrieving the interatomic potential and thus the valence electron density, and perhaps even wavefunctions, in an all-optical setting.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
  2. SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States); Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 13; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 1745-2473
Nature Publishing Group (NPG)
Research Org:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; attosecond science; electronic properties and materials; high-harmonic generation
OSTI Identifier: