The observation and manipulation of electron dynamics in matter call for attosecond light pulses, routinely available from high-order harmonic generation driven by few-femtosecond lasers. However, the energy limitation of these lasers supports only weak sources and correspondingly linear attosecond studies. Here we report on an optical parametric synthesizer designed for nonlinear attosecond optics and relativistic laser-plasma physics. This synthesizer uniquely combines ultra-relativistic focused intensities of about 1020 W/cm2 with a pulse duration of sub-two carrier-wave cycles. The coherent combination of two sequentially amplified and complementary spectral ranges yields sub-5-fs pulses with multi-TW peak power. The application of this source allows the generation of a broad spectral continuum at 100-eV photon energy in gases as well as high-order harmonics in relativistic plasmas. Unprecedented spatio-temporal confinement of light now permits the investigation of electric-field-driven electron phenomena in the relativistic regime and ultimately the rise of next-generation intense isolated attosecond sources.
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© 2017 The Author(s).