Scientific Results

Tracking propagation of ultrashort intense laser pulses in gases via probing of ionization

Year: 2009

Authors: Gizzi LA., Betti S., Galimberti M., Giulietti A., Giulietti D., Labate L., Levato T., Tomassini P., Monot P., Ceccotti T., De Oliveira P., Martin Ph.

Autors Affiliation: Intense Laser Irradiation Laboratory, IPCF- CNR Area della Ricerca CNR, Via Moruzzi, 1 56124 Pisa, Italy; Ist Nazl Fis Nucl, Pisa – INFM, Pisa, Italy; Physique à Haute Intensité, CEA-DSM/DRECAM/SPAM, Bât. 522 p. 148, 91191 Gif sur Yvette Cedex, France; Univ Pisa, Phys Dept E Fermi, I-56100 Pisa, Italy

Abstract: We use optical interferometry to study the propagation of femtosecond laser pulses in gases. We show the measurements of propagation in a nitrogen gas jet and we compare the results with propagation in He under the same irradiation conditions. We find that in the case of nitrogen, the detailed temporal structure of the laser pulse can be tracked and visualized by measuring the phase and the resulting electron-density map. A dramatically different behavior occurs in He gas jets, where no details of the temporal structure of the laser pulse are visible. These observations are explained in terms of the ionization dynamics of nitrogen compared to helium. These circumstances make N(2) gas sensitive to variations in the electric field and, therefore, allow the laser-pulse temporal and spatial structures to be visualized in detail.

Journal/Review: PHYSICAL REVIEW E

Volume: 79 (5)      Pages from: 056405  to: 056405

More Information: We would like to thank the staff of the SLIC laser facility for their invaluable and friendly support. We also thank Luc Vigroux of Amplitude Technologies for enlightening discussion concerning femtosecond laser technology. We acknowledge support from the LASERLAB EUROPE Trans-national Access Programme. We thank A. Barbini, W. Baldeschi, A. Rossi, and M. Voliani of the IPCF staff for their technical assistance. This work was partially supported by the joint INFN-CNR Project \”Plasmon-X\” and by the MIUR funded FIRB-SPARX project.
KeyWords: electron density; helium; high-speed optical techniques; ionisation; light interferometry
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.79.056405

Citations: 9
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