, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 1776-1792
Date: 15 Jul 2009

Can we reach very high intensity in air with femtosecond PW laser pulses?

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In the course of femtosecond pulse filamentation in atmospheric density gases, the peak intensity is always limited by optical-field-induced ionization. This intensity clamping phenomenon is universal in all the cases we studied, namely, single and multiple filament regimes with and without external focusing using pulses of up to subpetawatt level. Even in the tight focusing cases, the clamped intensity along the propagation direction does not exceed 30% of the global intensity maximum. The remarkable shot-to-shot stability of the clamped intensity (better than 1% of the maximum value) is revealed both experimentally and numerically in a single filament regime in air.

Original Russian Text © Astro, Ltd., 2009.
The article is published in the original.