Nature Photonics ( IF 31.241 ) Pub Date : 2020-09-14 , DOI: 10.1038/s41566-020-0690-1 Shawn Sederberg; Fanqi Kong; Felix Hufnagel; Chunmei Zhang; Ebrahim Karimi; Paul B. Corkum
The increasingly prominent role of light in information processing makes optoelectronic devices a technology of fundamental importance. Coherent control of currents in semiconductors using synthesized optical waveforms provides a sensitive and robust means to transfer information from light to an electronic circuit. Currents driven by Gaussian laser beams are spatially uniform in direction, offering limited technological utility. Full control over the transverse spatial distribution of currents excited in a material would vastly increase the versatility and impact of optoelectronic devices. Here we simultaneously control the waveform and vectorial arrangement of optical fields, enabling precise manipulation of the spatial distribution of currents in a semiconductor. As a direct application, we drive loop currents, embodying a new ultrafast magnetic field source. Subsequently, we demonstrate a scheme for generating an arbitrary superposition of two orthogonal current arrangements via subcycle adjustment of the optical waveform.