Paul Corkum


Paul Corkum
Full Professor

ARC 464

Office: (613) 562-5800 ext. 6550

Work E-mail:



Dr. Corkum uses the interaction of intense, short, infrared light pulses with atoms or molecules to generate coherent soft X-ray radiation and attosecond light pulses. The extreme nonlinear physics underlying these processes arises when intense laser light ionizes the material and controls the ionized electrons. These light-controlled electrons produce coherent soft X-ray radiation when the electric field of the laser pulse forces each electron to re-collide (and recombine) with the ion from which it left. The attosecond soft X-ray pulses that this recombination produces are the shortest controlled light flashes currently available to science.

The re-colliding electron wave packet has other options as well. It can diffract from its parent molecule, imaging the atomic positions or it can interfere with its parent orbital providing an orbital image of the electron from which it originated. To use modern terminology, these are two ways that a molecule can take a “selfie” (and there are others).

Attosecond science opens the potential for new measurement methods. These have been a particular focus of Dr. Corkum’s work during the past few years. For example, his group has measured the space-time image of an attosecond pulse and they have time resolved the multi-electron wave packets launched in the ion by an electron when it tunnels from a CO2 molecule.

Selected publications:
  • J. B. Bertrand, H. J. Wörner, P. Salières, D. M. Villeneuve and P. B. Corkum. Linked attosecond phase interferometry for molecular frame measurements. Nature Physics 9, 174-179, 2013
  • Kyung Taec Kim, Chunmei Zhang, Andrew D. Shiner, Sean E. Kirkwood, Eugene Frumker, Genevieve Gariepy, Andrei Naumov, D. M. Villeneuve and P. B. Corkum. Manipulation of quantum paths for space–time characterization of attosecond pulses. Nature Physics 9, 159-163, 2013
  • Kyung Taec Kim, Chunmei Zhang, Thierry Ruchon, Jean-François Hergott, Thierry Auguste, D. M. Villeneuve, P. B. Corkum and F. Quéré. Photonic streaking of attosecond pulse trains. Nature Photonics 7, 651, 2013
  • Kyung Taec Kim, Chunmei Zhang, Andrew D. Shiner, Bruno E. Schmidt, François Légaré, D. M. Villeneuve and P. B. Corkum. Petahertz optical oscilloscope. Nature Photonics 7, 958–962, 2013
  • E. Frumker, C. T. Hebeisen, N. Kajumba, J. B. Bertrand, H. J. Wörner, M. Spanner, D. M. Villeneuve, A. Naumov, and P. B. Corkum. Oriented Rotational Wave-Packet Dynamics Studies via High Harmonic Generation. Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 113901, 2012

Fields of Interest

  • Experimental Photonics
  • Nonlinear optics
  • Nonlinear light-matter interactions
  • Ultra-short light-pulse generation
  • Time-resolved dynamics
  • Attosecond physics
  • Electron tunnelling
  • Molecular imaging
  • Imaging mass spectrometry
  • Soft X-ray technology
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