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Understanding intense laser-cluster interaction


The ionization of atoms by ultrashort, intense laser pulses has allowed the creation and study of previously inaccessible regimes of electromagnetism, giving rise to extreme high harmonic generation, attosecond light pulses, and table-top coherent intense X-ray sources. For condensed systems in a strong laser field, new effects emerge due to the complex many-body microscopic interactions in the resulting plasma that cannot be foreseen by understanding the atomic system alone. Clusters are small particles of condensed matter, ranging from a few tens to a few million atoms, and present an ideal system with which to study these complex many-body effects.  I will discuss our recent theoretical work on describing the nature of the laser-cluster plasma dynamics, and understanding the role the plasma plays in enhancing ionization and energy absorption mechanisms.