Self-focusing in air with phase-stabilized few-cycle light pulses
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We investigate the nonlinear optical phenomenon of self-focusing in air with phase-stabilized few-cycle light pulses. This investigation looks at the role of the carrier-envelope phase by observing a filament in air, a nonlinear phenomenon that can be utilized for few-cycle pulse compression [Appl. Phys. B79, 673 (2004)]. We were able to measure the critical power for self-focusing in air to be 18᱿GW for a 6.3 fs pulse centered at 800 nm. Using this value and a basic first-order theory, we predicted that the self-focusing distance should deviate by 790?孠as the carrier-envelope phase is shifted from 0 to p/2?rad. In contrast, the experimental results showed no deviation in the focus distance with a 3s upper limit of 180?孮 These counterintuitive results show the need for further study of self-focusing dynamics in the few-cycle regime.
Copyright 2010 OSA. This paper was published in Optics Letters and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.35.001653. Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.
Optical Physics not elsewhere classified