A comprehensive quantitative rescattering (QRS) theory for describing the production of high-energy photoelectrons generated by intense laser pulses is presented. According to the QRS, the momentum distributions of these electrons can be expressed as the product of a returning electron wave packet with the elastic differential cross sections (DCS) between free electrons with the target ion. We show that the returning electron wave packets are determined mostly by the lasers only and can be obtained from the strong field approximation. The validity of the QRS model is carefully examined by checking against accurate results from the solution of the time-dependent Schrödinger equation for atomic targets within the single active electron approximation. We further show that experimental photoelectron spectra for a wide range of laser intensity and wavelength can be explained by the QRS theory, and that the DCS between electrons and target ions can be extracted from experimental photoelectron spectra. By generalizing the QRS theory to molecular targets, we discuss how few-cycle infrared lasers offer a promising tool for dynamic chemical imaging with temporal resolution of a few femtoseconds.



Keywords and Phrases

Atoms; Distributed Parameter Networks; Model Checking; Photoelectron Spectroscopy; Photoelectrons; Photoionization; Photons; Pulsed Laser Applications; Targets; Wave Packets; Waves, Atomic Targets; Chemical Imaging; Differential Cross Sections; Dinger Equations; Electron Wave Packets; Femto-Seconds; Few-Cycle Infrared Lasers; Free Electrons; High Energies; High-Energy Photoelectrons; Intense Laser Pulse; Laser Intensities; Laser-Induced; Molecular Targets; Momentum Distributions; Photoelectron Spectrum; Rescattering; Single Active Electron Approximations; Strong-Field Approximations; Target Ions; Temporal Resolutions; Time Dependents, Laser Theory

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