Abstract

We demonstrate that a highly confined plasma inclusion is formed inside a micrometric water droplet that is excited by a femtosecond laser. An 800-nm laser pulse generates a plasma inclusion by laser-induced breakdown that is subsequently probed by the elastic scattering of a second (400-nm) time-delayed ultrashort pulse. For a 25µm-radius droplet and an incident intensity of 7×1012 W/cm2 the radius of the highly localized plasma is 1.9±0.4 µm. We probed the plasma formation dynamics on femtosecond time scales by varying the delay between the pump and the probe pulses. Good agreement with numerical simulations of the process was found.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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