Abstract

Ultrafast ionization of a gas medium driven by ultrashort midinfrared laser pulses provides a source of bright ultrabroadband radiation whose spectrum spans across the entire microwave band, reaching for the sub-gigahertz range. We combine multiple, mutually complementary detection techniques to provide an accurate polarization-resolved characterization of this broadband output as a function of the gas pressure. At low gas pressures, the lowest-frequency part of this output is found to exhibit a drastic enhancement as this field builds up its coherence, developing a well-resolved emission cone, dominated by a radial radiation energy flux. This behavior of the intensity, coherence, and polarization of the microwave output is shown to be consistent with Cherenkov-type radiation by ponderomotively driven plasma currents.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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