, Volume 68, Issue 4, pp 547-569
Date: 19 May 2007

Systematic study of spatiotemporal dynamics of intense femtosecond laser pulses in BK-7 glass

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Abstract

In this paper we present a systematic study of the spatial and temporal effects of intense femtosecond laser pulses in BK-7 over a broad range of input powers, 1–1000 times the critical power for self-focusing (P cr) by numerically solving the nonlinear Schrödinger equation (NLS). Most numerical studies have not been extended to such high powers. A clear-cut classification of spatio-temporal dynamics up to very high powers into three regimes — the group-velocity dispersion (GVD) regime, the ionization regime and the dominant plasma regime — as done here, is a significant step towards a better understanding. Further, we examine in detail the role of GVD in channel formation by comparing BK-7 to an ‘artificial’ medium. Our investigations bring forth the important observation that diffraction plays a minimal role in the formation of multiple cones and that plasma plays a diffraction-like role at very high powers. A detailed study of the spatio-temporal dynamics in any condensed medium over this range of powers has not been reported hitherto, to the best of our knowledge. We also suggest appropriate operational powers for various applications employing BK-7 on the basis of our results.