Department of Physics & Astronomy

Spring 2009 Colloquia


Jerry Moloney

Jerry Moloney

Directory, Arizona Center for Mathematical Sciences
University of Arizona
Extreme Nonlinear Optics with Ultrashort Intense Laser Pulses
March 9, 2009, 4PM, Thornton 411

Multi-terawatt class, femtosecond laser pulses display a remarkable mix of nonlinear physics phenomena when propagating in the atmosphere. The latter include critical (self-focusing) collapse, plasma generation and white light generation. Applications of these sources include remote atmospheric femtoseond LIDAR, remote LIBs spectroscopy, obscurant penetration etc. My talk will review these applications but focus on work at the University of Arizona with collaborators in Europe. A unidirectional Maxwell pulse propagator has been derived by us and used to validate many of the above experimental observations. Our focus has been on modeling and experimental study of specially prepared laser pulses with Gaussian, Bessel and Airy beam characteristics and studying their propagation in air. Even Gaussian transverse bean profiles can spontaneously collapse into nonlinear X- and O-waves that are closely analogous to Bessel beams. By tailoring the transverse profile of such ultra-short intense laser pulses, we can generate extended plasm channels in air and observe novel filamentation and bifurcation phenomena of filamented channels from curved beam paths.

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