Photoemission of an electron is commonly treated as a one-particle phenomenon. With attosecond streaking spectroscopy we observe the breakdown of this single active-electron approximation by recording up to six attoseconds retardation of the dislodged photoelectron due to electronic correlations. We recorded the photon-energy-dependent emission timing of electrons, released from the helium ground state by an extreme-ultraviolet photon, either leaving the ion in its ground state or exciting it into a shake-up state. We identify an optical field-driven d.c. Stark shift of charge-asymmetric ionic states formed after the entangled photoemission as a key contribution to the observed correlation time shift. These findings enable a complete wavepacket reconstruction and are universal for all polarized initial and final states. Sub-attosecond agreement with quantum mechanical ab initio modelling allows us to determine the absolute zero of time in the photoelectric effect to a precision better than 1/25th of the atomic unit of time.
Fields of Expertise
- Advanced Materials Science