Abstract

We investigated the possibility of plasma-induced spectral broadening of high-energy ultrashort laser pulses in a helium-filled multipass cell (MPC) through a series of full numerical simulations of the extended nonlinear Schrödinger equation. It was found that the gas pressure must be set low so that the propagation dynamics can be controlled only by plasma defocusing. Simulations using 100mJ, 40fs laser pulses in the MPC, which is 6m long and has a mirror of 3.1m radius at each end, showed that if the gas pressure is set within the range of 40130Pa, then the relevant spectral broadening can be obtained after five passes, yielding compressed pulses of a 4.76.4fs width. The ratio of the energy of the compressed pulse to the output pulse is found to be within 58–88%.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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