Multi variable control of filamentation of femtosecond laser pulses propagating in air

J. Papeer, M. Botton, D. Gordon, P. Sprangle, G. Fibich, H. Herzig Sheinfux, A. Zigler, Z. Henis

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13 Scopus citations


A comprehensive approach for control of filamentation and generation of a high density conductive channel during femtosecond intense laser pulse propagation in air is being reviewed. Imposing astigmatism on the beam with a tilted lens allows obtaining a single stable filament out of a high power pulse (orders of magnitude higher than the critical power), which would otherwise generate random multiple filamentation pattern. The collapse distance of filaments is controlled with a double lens setup. Once the filament is stabilized, a substantially extended lifetime of the high density plasma channel generated in its wake is experimentally demonstrated using combination of femtosecond and nanosecond laser pulses. Free electron density above 1015 cm-3 in the formed plasma filament is measured to sustain for over 30 ns. This high density plasma lifetime prolongation of more than one order of magnitude is achieved by properly timed irradiation of the filament with a relatively low intensity nanosecond laser pulse, in comparison to a filament without such irradiation. The experimental results are in good agreement with our theoretical model that follows the evolution of the temperature and density of various molecules, atoms and ion species. The results point to the possibility of generating substantially long time duration, stable high density plasma filaments in air.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number094005
JournalJournal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 14 May 2015

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© 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • filamentation
  • high power laser
  • laser propagation in atmosphere


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