I defended my thesis on June 27, 2012 at the Aix-Marseille University (Lab: Center for Theoretical Physics in Marseille).
  • Thesis manuscript referees
    • J. H. Eberly (University of Rochester)
    • J. M. Rost (Max-Planck-Institut)
  • Oral defense Jury
    • O. Atabek (CNRS - Orsay) - Jury president for the defense
    • C. Chandre (CNRS - Marseille) - Thesis advisor
    • H. R. Jauslin (Université de Bourgogne)
    • M. Pettini (Aix-Marseille Université)
    • J. M. Rost (Max-Planck-Institut)
    • P. Salières (CEA - Saclay)
    • T. Uzer (Georgia Institute of Technology)

PDF file of the manuscript

(release July 12, 2012 - 22,9 Mo)


When subjected to strong and short laser pulses, atoms may lose electrons. Several ionization channels are involved in such double ionization events, like nonsequential double ionization (NSDI) and its associated recollision scenario. Recollision is now seen as the "keystone of strong field physics", for its insights into the organization of matter, and is one of the most dramatic manifestations of electron-electron correlation in nature.

In this manuscript a theoretical analysis of the double ionization mechanisms is carried out using classical mechanics. This description complements quantum treatments by observing the dynamics from a different framework, with the light of nonlinear dynamics, as both frameworks exhibit the main ingredient, i.e., strong electron-electron correlation. The analysis, carried out in phase space (e.g., through reduced models) enables the identification of the organizing structures that regulate the ionization channels.

For linearly polarized lasers, the recollision mechanism is completed by the picture of the "inner" electron. The inner electron gives access to a fine description of the recollision dynamics and explains the routes to double ionization. It also enables verifiable predictions such as the location of the characteristic knee shape in the double ionization yield versus laser intensity and fully explains delayed ionizations like RESI.

For circular polarization, it is commonly believed that recollision is not possible, despite apparently contradictory experimental results. In fact, the phase space analysis shows that recollision is possible but not accessible to all atoms, thus reconciling the previous experimental results.

Key words

  • Atomic, molecular and optical physics (AMO)
  • Strong field physics
  • Laser-induced ionization
  • Laser-matter interaction
  • Nonsequential double ionization (NSDI)
  • Nonlinear dynamics
  • Hamiltonian dynamics


  • 2012 thesis award from the Aix-Marseille University
  • 2012 thesis award from the physics graduate program of the Aix-Marseille University

Laboratory contact

Centre de Physique Théorique - CPT - UMR-7332
Campus de Luminy, Case 907
13288 Marseille cedex 9, France