Femtosecond laser pulse filamentation versus optical breakdown in H2O
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The competition between femtosecond laser pulse induced optical breakdown and femtosecond laser pulse filamentation in condensed matter is studied both experimentally and numerically using water as an example. The coexistence of filamentation and breakdown is observed under tight focusing conditions. The development of the filamentation process from the creation of a single filament to the formation of many filaments at higher pulse energy is characterized systematically. In addition, strong deflection and modulation of the supercontinuum is observed. They manifest themselves at the beginning of the filamentation process, near the highly disordered plasma created by optical breakdown at the geometrical focus.
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