National Research Council of Canada. Security and Disruptive Technologies
In a strong laser field, electrons tunnel from an atom at a rate determined by the instantaneous field. If the pulse is only a few cycles in duration, the highly nonlinear nature of tunnel ionization ensures that the resultant electron wave packet is primarily formed in less than one period. Measuring the direction of above-threshold-ionization electrons produced by circularly polarized light provides a direct method of measuring the absolute carrier phase of a single pulse. The method is robust, surviving spatial and temporal integration as well as intensity fluctuations.