We present spatially and spectrally resolved measurements of light emerging from the focus of an intense 25-fs laser pulse in gaseous media. The pulses are focused inside a chamber backfilled with either argon or air to nominal vacuum intensities of up to far in excess of that necessary for ionization. We have recorded spectral-spatial maps for various pressures and pulse energies and have compared the results of argon and air. This survey is done in the regime where of the laser light is converted into the third harmonic, which is of practical importance since it is the largest conversion efficiency measured to date while maintaining such a short pulse duration. These measurements are, to our knowledge, the first of their type and are performed with a laser beam of very high spatial quality. The dynamics of an intense laser focusing into a gas cell is complicated, and these measurements provide a way to compare numerical simulations with an array of experimental information. The experiments also determine the conditions for optimal third-harmonic spatial beam quality in this regime.
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