Amplification of ultra-short light pulses by ion collective modes in plasmas
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The use of plasmas provides a way to overcome the damage threshold of classical solid-state based optical materials which is the main limitation encountered in producing extreme power laser pulses. In particular one can use plasmas to directly amplify ultra-short laser pulses to very high intensities. Multi-dimensional kinetic simulations and first proof-of-principle experiments show the feasibility of using plasma instabilities involving ion waves, such as stimulated Brillouin backscattering, in a controlled way to transfer energy from a long pump pulse to a short seed pulse and thereby increase the intensity of the latter. Plasma parametric amplification, and the use of plasma mirrors for focusing, is part of the newly developping domain of plasma optics, which eventually will pave the way to Exawatt lasers.
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