Abstract

We present a new optical post-compression technique designed for high-energy ultrashort pulses. A large spectral broadening is achieved through rapid ionization of helium by an intense pulse (>1015 W/cm2) propagating in a capillary filled with low-pressure helium. The blueshifted pulses are re-compressed with chirped mirrors and silica plates. From a terawatt Ti:sapphire laser chain providing pulses of 40 fs, 70 mJ, we demonstrate the compression of pulses down to 11.4 fs (FWHM) with a total output energy of 13.7 mJ.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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