Study: First observation of high harmonic generation in robust and refractory metals



Key result of the research

The generation of high harmonics from metals opens a link between solid and plasma harmonics. High Harmonic Generation (HHG) is the field of creating high frequency photons from low frequency lasers. HHG is the cornerstone of nonlinear optics, with applications in spectroscopy, attosecond science, etc. In this study, researchers first used titanium nitride to obtain HHG in refractory metals. In the future, this could pave the way for the concentration of radiation at the nanoscale for use in nanomachining, nanofabrication, and medical applications, as well as improving HHG for generation of combs. frequency for the next generation of nuclear clocks.

Professor Purdue, title

Alexandra Boltasseva, Ron and Dotty Garvin Tonjes Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Boltasseva’s interdisciplinary work merges nano-optics, materials science and machine learning to enable a new generation of devices for ultra-fast and ultra-thin optics, denser photonic / quantum circuits, and storage of data, detection of harsh environments, biomedical applications, energy conversion and room -temperature, efficient quantum devices.

Vladimir M. Shalaev, Bob and Anne Burnett Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Scientific Director of Nanophotonics at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue’s Discovery Park. Shalaev is recognized for his pioneering studies of linear and nonlinear optics of random nanophotonic composites, artificially designed and fabricated optical metamaterials, plasmonics and quantum photonics.

Journal name

Nature Communications, Summary is available online. Generation of high harmonics in metallic titanium nitride


The work was funded by the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the University of Ottawa, NRC Joint Center for Extreme Photonics (JCEP), with contributions from the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) (price FA9550-16-1-0109, FA9550-18-1-0002, FA9550-20-1-0124) and Office of Naval Research (ONR) (grant N00014-20-1-2199), Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada Research Chairs (CRC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Brief summary of methods

The researchers combined titanium nitride, a refractory metal developed by the Shalaev-Boltasseva research groups, which has exceptionally high laser tolerance, with extremely short laser pulses made up of a few electric field oscillations. Titanium nitride’s 10 times greater laser tolerance than gold allowed researchers to strike it with high intensity radiation, emitting shorter wavelength light up to 110 nm, in the ultraviolet regime under vacuum for the first time in a metal.

Writer: Kristin Malavenda, Director of Communications, Elmore School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Media contact: Kayla Wiles, 765-494-2432, [email protected]

Sources: Alexandra Boltasseva, [email protected]

Vladimir M. Shalaev, [email protected]


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