Abstract

We demonstrate coherent control of laser-induced optical breakdown in Ar and Xe with a femtosecond time-scale pulse train. By using a genetic algorithm to set the relative phases of seven optical sidebands that span two octaves of bandwidth, we enhance or suppress the probability of breakdown, vary the onset time of the spark, and to some extent, vary the position of the spark and the timing of the laser-produced shock wave.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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