We present experimental evidence of the generation of few-cycle propagating surface plasmon polariton wavepackets. These ultrashort plasmonic pulses comprised of only 2-3 field oscillations were characterized by an autocorrelation measurement based on electron photoemission. By exploiting plasmonic field enhancement, we achieved plasmon-induced tunnelling emission from the metal surface at low laser intensity, opening perspectives for strong-field experiments with low pulse energies. All-optical electron acceleration up to keV kinetic energy is also demonstrated in these surface-confined, few-cycle fields with only 1.35 × 1012 W/cm2 focused laser intensity. The experimental results are found to be in excellent agreement with the model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics