Abstract

Measurement of the temporal (spectral) phase and amplitude of a 50 fs laser pulse approaching and exceeding the critical power for self-focusing (Pcrit) in air reveals the formation of an isolated 17 fs pulse at 3Pcrit. The dynamics of self-shortening are measured directly in the filament using transient-grating cross-correlation frequency-resolved optical gating with a noble gas serving as the nonlinear medium. Our results support recent filamentary propagation simulations, suggesting that a Kerr-dominated temporal reshaping process toward the end of the filament is largely responsible for the generation of short pulses.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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