Control of femtosecond filamentation by field-free revivals of molecular alignment
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- Wu, J., Cai, H., Peng, Y. et al. Laser Phys. (2009) 19: 1759. doi:10.1134/S1054660X09150444
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We show that the filamentation dynamics of a femtosecond laser probe pulse can be readily controlled by properly matching it to the quantum revivals of pre-aligned molecules prepared through impulsive rotational Raman excitation with an advancing ultrashort pump pulse. Several features of the filamentation process including supercontinuum generation, the length of the plasma channel generated in the wake of the filament, the associated secondary radiations and the multiple filamentation pattern are all easily modified by tuning the cross phase modulation induced by the field-free revivals of molecular alignment, through the delay between the pump and the probe pulses. We show that molecular alignment can also be used to generate conical waves with extremely short intensity spike called shocked X-waves and to further tune the frequency of a few-cycle laser pulse in the wake of a self-guided intense filament.