Abstract

The spatiotemporal transformation of a focused femtosecond pulse in fused silica at power much less than the critical power for self-focusing was numerically studied. We found that the pulse experiences unusual spatiotemporal reshaping, such as refocusing of the near-axis portion of the defocused pulse tail, even when the self-focusing effect was not taken into the calculation. Further studies revealed that a tubelike spatiotemporal distribution of the plasma is formed during pulse propagation and that it plays a decisive role in the transformations of the pulse. In addition, the tubelike plasma was found to exist universally under different external focusing conditions if the input pulse had sufficient power.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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