, Volume 103, Issue 2, pp 435-439

Control of filament branching in air by astigmatically focused femtosecond laser pulses

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Abstract

We report on the generation of branched optical filaments in air by astigmatically focusing intense femtosecond laser pulses with a pair of orthogonal cylindrical lenses. It is found that the branching angle can be controlled by changing the distance between the two foci of the cylindrical lenses. The evolution of the filament is systematically investigated by capturing beam cross-section profiles at different locations along its propagation direction. The experimental observation is successfully reproduced by theoretical simulations.