, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 237-245

Non-invasive determination of shock wave pressure generated by optical breakdown

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Shock waves generated by a laser-induced plasma were investigated using a pump-and-probe technique. Both 7-ns and 40-ps laser pulses at 1.06 μm were employed to initiate breakdown in water. Two He-Ne laser beams were used as a velocity probe, allowing the accurate measurement of the shock velocity around the plasma. The maximum shock pressure was determined from the measured shock velocities, the jump condition and the equation of state for water. The conservation of the total momentum of the shock front was used to derive expressions for the shock velocity, particle velocity and shock pressure vs. the distance (r) from the center of the plasma. For a shock wave of spherical symmetry, the shock pressure is proportional to 1/r 2. Our work shows that the expanding plasma initially induces a shock wave; the shock wave dissipates rapidly becoming an acoustic wave within 300–500 μm.