Experimental Physics and Quantum Optics X-Ray

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Generation of circularly polarized high harmonic radiation using a transmission multilayer quarter waveplate



High harmonic radiation is meanwhile nearly extensively used for the spectroscopic investigation of electron dynamics with ultimate time resolution. The majority of high harmonic beamlines provide linearly polarized radiation created in a gas target. However, circular polarization greatly extends the spectroscopic possibilities for high harmonics, especially in the analysis of samples with chirality or prominent spin polarization. We produced a free-standing multilayer foil as a transmission EUV quarter waveplate and applied it for the first time to high harmonic radiation. We measured a broadband (4.6 eV FWHM) ellipticity of 75% at 66 eV photon energy with a transmission efficiency of 5%. The helicity is switchable and the ellipticity can be adjusted to lower values by angle tuning. As a single element it can be easily integrated in any existing harmonic beamline without major changes.