We investigated nonlinear photoemission from plasmonic films with femtosecond, mid-infrared pulses at 3.1 μm wavelength. Transition between regimes of multi-photon-induced and tunneling emission is demonstrated at an unprecedentedly low intensity of <1 GW/cm2. Thereby, strong-field nanophysics can be accessed at extremely low intensities by exploiting nanoscale plasmonic field confinement, enhancement and ponderomotive wavelength scaling at the same time. Results agree well with quantum mechanical modelling. Our scheme demonstrates an alternative paradigm and regime in strong-field physics.
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