Kinematic manipulation of neutral atoms in inhomogeneous laser
fields has been widely studied for moderately strong laser fields.
Here we report on experiments where we have investigated kinematic
effects on neutral atoms using strong short pulse laser fields with
intensities up to 1016 Wcm-2 and pulse durations in the range from
40 to 120 fs. We measure deflections of neutral atoms, which correspond
to ultra strong accelerations with magnitudes as high as 1014 times
Earth’s gravitational acceleration. This is – to the
best of our knowledge – by far the strongest acceleration
of neutral species in external fields.