Abstract

Filamentation of focused UV and IR femtosecond laser pulses and plasma channel formation governed by variable wavefront distortions was experimentally and numerically studied. A deformable mirror was used to control the plasma channel length by introducing a spherical aberration into the initial transverse spatial distribution of a femtosecond laser pulse. An at least double increase of the plasma channel length was observed with increasing deformation of the mirror. Numerical calculations show that the hat-like phase shape of the aberration ensures that the energy of the initial laser pulse remains confined for a longer distance within the limited transverse size of the filament.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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