Quantum beats in the polarization response of a dielectric to intense few-cycle laser pulses
We have investigated the polarization response of a dielectric to intense few-cycle laser pulses with a focus on interband tunnelling. Once charge carriers are created in an initially empty conduction band, they make a significant contribution to the polarization response. In particular, the coherent superposition of conduction- and valence-band states results in quantum beats. This quantum-beat part of the polarization response is affected by the excitation dynamics and attosecond-scale motion of charge carriers in an intense laser field. Our analysis shows that, with the onset of Bloch oscillations or tunnelling, the nonlinear polarization response becomes sensitive to the carrier-envelope phase of the laser pulse.