Abstract

The theory of self-focusing has been applied to beams propagating in the atmosphere. The effects of density variation, absorption, and air breakdown which limit the self-focusing through power driven instabilities are estimated. It is found that laser pulses whose pulse lengths are between 10 ns and 10 μs with powers from 102Pc to 103Pc have a chance to self-focus. Here Pc is the critical power for self-focusing in an ideal nonattenuating medium with a nonlinear index of refraction.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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