Optimal control of strong-field ionization with time-dependent density-functional theory

Maria Hellgren*, Esa Räsänen, E. K.U. Gross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We show that quantum optimal control theory (OCT) and time-dependent density-functional theory (TDDFT) can be combined to provide realistic femtosecond laser pulses for an enhanced ionization yield in few-electron systems. Using a one-dimensional model H2 molecule as a test case, the optimized laser pulse from the numerically exact scheme is compared to pulses obtained from OCT+TDDFT within the TD exact-exchange (TDEXX) and the TD local-density approximation (TDLDA). We find that the TDDFT pulses produce an ionization yield of up to 50% when applied to the exact system. In comparison, pulses with a single frequency but the same fluence typically reach to yields around 5%-15%, unless the frequency is carefully tuned into a Fano-type resonance that leads to ∼30% yield. On the other hand, optimization within the exact system alone leads to yields higher than 80%, demonstrating that correlation effects beyond the TDEXX and TDLDA can give rise to even more efficient ionization mechanisms.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number013414
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 19 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


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