Paul Corkum
Paul Corkum
Full Professor

ARC 464
(613) 562-5800 ext. 6550

Department of Physics


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 and they make the fastest measurements that humans can make.

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, using a new nonlinear method, his group has measured the time advance of an electron emitted from an atom when it is ionized near its Cooper minimum and the time delay caused by an electron’s interaction with other atomic or molecular electrons.  In the future, he thinks it will be possible to measure the ultimate time response of electronic matter.

Selected Publications

  • Shawn Sederberg, Paul B. Corkum, Perspective on Phase-Controlled Currents in Semiconductors Driven by Structured Light, Applied Physics Letters 120, 160504 (2022) DOIPDF
  • Korobenko, S. Saha, A. T. K. Godfrey, M. Gertsvolf, A. Yu Naumov, D. M. Villeneuve, A. Boltasseva, V. M. Shalaev, P. B. Corkum, High-harmonic generation in metallic titanium nitride, Nature Communications 12, 1–6 (2021) DOIPDF
  • Shawn Sederberg, Fanqi Kong, Paul B. Corkum, Tesla-Scale Terahertz Magnetic Impulses, Physical Review X 10, 011063 (2020), DOIPDF
  • F. Kong, C. Zhang, H. Larocque, Z. Li, F. Bouchard, D. H. Ko, G. G. Brown, A. Korobenko, T. J. Hammond, Robert W. Boyd, E. Karimi, P. B. Corkum, Vectorizing the Spatial Structure of High-Harmonic Radiation from Gas, Nature Communications 10, 2020 (2019), DOIPDF
  • G. Vampa, T. J. Hammond, M. Taucer, Xiaoyan Ding, X. Ropagnol, T. Ozaki, S. Delprat, M. Chaker, N. Thiré, B. E. Schmidt, F. Légaré, D. D. Klug, A. Yu Naumov, D. M. Villeneuve, A. Staudte, P. B. Corkum, Strong-Field Optoelectronics in Solids, Nature Photonics 12, 465-468 (2018), DOIPDF
  • G. Vampa, B. G. Ghamsari, S. Siadat Mousavi, T. J. Hammond, A. Olivieri, E. Lisicka-Skrek, A. Yu Naumov, D. M. Villeneuve, A. Staudte, P. Berini, P. B. Corkum, Plasmon-enhanced high-harmonic generation from silicon, Nature Physics 13, 659 (2017) DOIPDF
  • T.J. Hammond, Graham G. Brown, Kyung Taec Kim, D. M. Villeneuve, Paul B. Corkum, Attosecond pulses measured from the attosecond lighthouse, Nature Photonics 10, 171-175 (2016) DOIPDF

Research interests

  • 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