Abstract

Optical limiting in carbon-nanotube suspensions, whose origin lies in a strong nonlinear scattering due to solvent vapor bubbles and sublimation of the nanotubes, is investigated in the picosecond and nanosecond regimes by polychromatic pump–probe experiments. Samples were pumped either with 532-nm or 1064-nm pulses, and probed from 400 nm to 650 nm. Using a model based on Mie theory, we determine the time evolution of the radius and the concentration of the scattering centers for both temporal regimes. We compare the transmission signals for single-wall carbon nanotubes suspended in water and in chloroform and for multiwall carbon nanotubes in water. Several conclusions can be drawn. First, coalescence of gaseous cavities is more effective in water than in chloroform, leading to nonlinear scattering by a smaller number of larger bubbles. Second, in spite of the smaller size of the scattering centers, the limiting efficiency of chloroform suspensions is better than that of water suspensions, due to a larger volume fraction of the gaseous phase. However, the characteristic times for the growth of laser-induced bubbles are too long to allow efficient limiting of subnanosecond laser pulses.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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