Long-range self-channeling of infrared laser pulses in air: a new propagation regime without ionization
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We report long-range self-channeling in air of multiterawatt femtosecond laser pulses with large negative initial chirps. The peak intensity in the light channels is at least one order of magnitude lower than required for multiphoton ionization of air molecules. A detailed comparison is made between experiments and realistic 3+1-dimensional numerical simulations. It reveals that the mechanism limiting the growth of intensity by filamentation is connected with broken revolution symmetry in the transverse diffraction plane.
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