Experimental Study Of Infrared Filaments Under Different Initial Conditions.

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Overview

In 1964, four years after the first working laser was constructed, long skinny damage tracks and fluorescence trails were seen inside of certain transparent media that were excited by intense light pulses [1]. What was so remarkable about these features was the narrowness of the spatial profile and their long propagation length in the beam in concert with the very high intensity of the light that would be necessary to produce them. A purely linear model of light propagation through such media was insufficient to explain the results of these experiments and hence a new area of nonlinear optics, latex coined filamentation (to describe the length, slimness, and intensity of the light field), was born. Filament studies begin with a medium that has a nonlinear index of refraction, n¯2, that interacts with an intense beam of light so as to cause it to self-focus. The n¯2 of liquid and solid transparent media is much higher than the n¯ 2 of gases and therefore a much higher intensity of laser source would need to be invented to begin the study of filaments in air. With the advent of the Ti-Sapphire Kerr-lens modelocked laser [2], working in combination with the development of the chirped pulse amplifier system in the mid-1990's, light intensities sufficient to produce filaments in air was realized. Since that time much experimental and theoretical work has been done to better understand some of the additional complexities that arise specifically in the filamentation of light in air using several different wavelengths (UV to IR) and pulsewidths (femto- to pico-seconds). Many theoretical models exist each with a different emphasis on the various physical mechanisms that may produce the features experimentally observed in filaments. The experimental work has sought to give the theoretician better data on some of the properties of filaments such as the: (a) spatial and temporal structure of the beam and of the produced plasma (that arises due to the high intensity light field that gives birth to multiphoton and avalanche ionization), (b) conical emission/supercontinuum generation, and (c) emitted THz radiation. The aim of all of this research is to gain a better understanding of filamentation so that we may learn how to control them for the applications of: (a) laser-induced lightning, (b) laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, (c) LIDAR, (d) medical imaging and many more. In this dissertation we will focus on an experimental study of filamentation in air produced by 780 nm radiation, pulsewidths of 200 fs, and energies pulse of 9 mJ/pulse. We have used an aerodynamic window + vacuum system to study the difference between focusing filament forming pulses down initially in vacuum conditions to that where it is allowed to focus in atmosphere. Described herein is a new way to use an off-the-shelf, inexpensive and robust 1064 nm mirror to observe the beam profile and its evolution in the filament as well as the filaments spectral properties. In addition, experiments to test for the plasma have been conducted. The results of these experiments indicate filament sizes of 200mum, in contrast to the commonly reported value of 100pm. Filaments of this size exist over a length of approximately a meter which is 8 times longer than the associated Rayleigh range for such a spot size with a clear enhancement in filament persistence with the use of the aerodynamic window. In addition the appearance of newly generated "bluer" frequencies that is present under atmospheric focusing is ail but eliminated through an initial focusing of the beam in vacuum conditions. Plasma densities of 1016 e -/cm3 were measured using plasma interferometry.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243635891
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/5/2011
  • Pages: 118
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.25 (d)

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