Abstract

Dispersion precompensation with a prism sequence and a third-order dispersion mirror resulted in negligible broadening of sub-10-fs pulses at subwavelength spot sizes when the pulses were focused with microscope objectives and moderate apertures. At larger apertures, lens chromaticity and spherical aberration led to an effective pulse broadening of up to 1.3× , depending on the aperture size and the detector position. The data suggest that intensities exceeding 10<sup>14</sup> W/cm<sup>2</sup> can be produced directly from femtosecond pulse oscillators.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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