Abstract

The spatial evolution of plasma filaments in air induced by femtosecond laser pulses is investigated experimentally. Several major filaments and small scaled additional filaments are detected in the plasma channel. The complicated interaction process of filaments as splitting, fusion and spreading is observed. The major filaments propagate stably, and the small scaled additional filaments can be attracted to the major filaments and merged with them. The major filaments are formed due to the perturbation of initial beam profile and the small scaled filaments are mainly caused by the transverse modulational instability.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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Acta Phys. Sin.

Z. Q. Hao, J. Zhang, Z. Zhang, T. T. Xi, Z. Y. Zheng, X. H. Yuan, Z. H. Wang, "Third harmonic generation in plasma channels in air induced by intense femtosecond laser pulses," Acta Phys. Sin. 54, 3173-3177 (2005).

Z. Q. Hao, J. Zhang, J. Yu, Z. Zhang, J. Y. Zhong, C. Z. Zang, Z. Jin, Z. H. Wang, and Z. Y. Wei, "Fluorescence measurement and acoustic diagnostics of plasma channels in air," Acta Phys. Sin. 55, 299-303 (2006).

Appl. Opt.

Appl. Phys. B

G. Méchain, A. Couairon , Y.-B. André, C. D. Amico, M. Franco, B. Prade, S. Tzortzakis, A. Mysyrowicz, and R. Sauerbrey, "Long-range self-channeling of infrared laser pulses in air: a new propagation regime without ionization," Appl. Phys. B 79, 379-382 (2004).
[CrossRef]

J. Kasparian, R. Sauerbrey, and S. L. Chin, "The critical laser intensity of self-guided light filaments in air," Appl. Phys. B 71, 877-879 (2000).
[CrossRef]

F. Théberge , W. Liu, Q. Luo, and S. L. Chin, "Ultrabroadband continuum generated in air (down to 230 nm) using ultrashort and intense laser pulses," Appl. Phys. B 80, 221-225 (2005).
[CrossRef]

H. Schillinger and R. Sauerbrey, "Electrical conductivity of long plasma channels in air generated by self-guided femtosecond laser pulses," Appl. Phys. B 68, 753-756 (1999).
[CrossRef]

Chin. Phys. Lett.

Z. Q. Hao, J. Yu, J Zhang, Y. T. Li, X. H. Yuan, Z. Y. Zheng , P. Wang, Z. H. Wang, W. J. Ling, and Z. Y. Wei, "Acoustic diagnostics of plasma channels induced by intense femtosecond laser pulses in air," Chin. Phys. Lett. 22, 636-639 (2005).
[CrossRef]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. B

Opt. Comm.

G. Méchain, C.D. Amico, Y.-B. André, S. Tzortzakis, M. Franco, B. Prade, A. Mysyrowicz, A. Couairon, E. Salmon, and R. Sauerbrey, "Range of plasma filaments created in air by a multi-terawatt femtosecond laser," Opt. Comm. 247, 171-180 (2005).
[CrossRef]

Opt. Commun.

S. L. Chin, N. Aközbek, A. Proulx, S. Petit, and C. M. Bowden, "Transverse ring formation of a focused femtosecond laser pulse," Opt. Commun. 188, 181-186 (2001).
[CrossRef]

Opt. Express

Opt. Lett.

Phys. Rev. E

H. Yang, J. Zhang, J. Zhang, L. Z. Zhao, Y. J. Li, H. Teng, Y. T. Li, Z. H. Wang, Z. L. Chen, Z. Y. Wei, J. X. Ma, W. Yu, and Z. M. Sheng, "Third-order harmonic generation by self-guided femtosecond pulses in air," Phys. Rev. E 67, 015401 (2003).
[CrossRef]

S. Tzortzakis, M. A. Franco, Y.-B. André, A. Chiron, B. Lamouroux, B. S. Prade, and A. Mysyrowicz, "Formation of a conducting channel in air by self-guided femtosecond laser pulses," Phys. Rev. E 60, R3505-R3507 (1999).
[CrossRef]

H. Yang, J. Zhang, Y. J. Li, J. Zhang, Y. T. Li, Z. L. Chen, H. Teng, Z. Y. Wei, and Z. M. Sheng, "Characteristics of self-guided laser plasma channels generated by femtosecond laser pulses in air," Phys. Rev. E 66, 016406 (2002).
[CrossRef]

Phys. Rev. Lett.

M. Mlejnek, M. Kolesik, J. V. Moloney, and E. M. Wright, "Optically turbulent femtosecond light guide in air," Phys. Rev. Lett. 83, 2938-2941 (1999).
[CrossRef]

L. Bergé, S. Skupin, F. Lederer, G. Méjean, J. Yu, J. Kasparian, E. Salmon, J. P. Wolf, M. Rodriguez, and L. Wöste, "Multiple filamentation of terawatt laser pulses in air," Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 225002 (2004).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

S. Tzortzakis, L. Bergé, A. Couairon, M. Franco, B. Prade, and A. Mysyrowicz, "Breakup and fusion of selfguided femtosecond light pulses in air," Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 5470-5473 (2001).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

K. D. Moll, and A. L. Gaeta, "Self-similar optical wave collapse: observation of the Townes profile," Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 203902 (2003).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

T. T. Xi, X. Lu, and J. Zhang, "Interaction of light filaments generated by femtosecond laser pulses in air," Phys. Rev. Lett. (2005). Submitted
[PubMed]

N. Aközbek, A. Iwasaki, A. Becker, M. Scalora, S. L. Chin, and C. M. Bowden, "Third-harmonic generation and self-channeling in air using high-power femtosecond laser pulses," Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 143901 (2002).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Science

J. Kasparian, M. Rodriguez, G. Méjean, J. Yu, E. Salmon, H. Wille, R. Bourayou, S. Frey, Y,-B. André, A. Mysyrowicz, R. Sauerbrey, J.-P. Wolf, and L. Wöste, "White-light filaments for atmospheric analysis," Science 301, 61-64 (2003).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Other

M. Mlejnek, E. M. Wright, and J. V. Moloney, "Power dependence of dynamic spatial replenishment of femtosecond pulsespropagation in air," Opt. Express 4, 223-228 (1999) <a href="http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-4-7-223">http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-4-7-223<a/>.
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

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Figures (3)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Profile of the initial laser beam. Intensity recorded at the output of the compressor.

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Schematic diagram of the experimental setup.

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

Typical normalized profiles of filaments in plasma channels with a laser energy of Elaser = 22mJ. Frame size: 5.18×5.18 mm2.

Equations (2)

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P crit = λ 2 2 π n 0 n 2
n plasma = ω p 2 ( r ) 2 ω 2 ,

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