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Title: Megafilament in air formed by self-guided terawatt long-wavelength infrared laser

The diffraction-compensated propagation of high-power laser beams in air could open up new opportunities for atmospheric applications such as remote stand-off detection, long-range projection of high-energy laser pulses and free-space communications. Here, we experimentally demonstrate that a self-guided terawatt picosecond CO 2 laser beam forms in air a single centimetre-scale-diameter megafilament that, in comparison with a short-wavelength laser filament, has four orders of magnitude larger cross-section and guides many joules of pulse energy over multiple Rayleigh distances at a clamped intensity of ~10 12 W cm –2. We discover that this megafilament arises from the balance between self-focusing, diffraction and defocusing caused by free carriers generated via many-body Coulomb-induced ionization that effectively decrease the molecular polarizability during the long-wavelength laser pulse. Furthermore, modelling reveals that this guiding scheme may enable transport of high-power picosecond infrared pulses over many kilometres in the 8–14 μm atmospheric transmission window.
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
  2. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
  3. Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States)
  4. Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States); Philipps-Univ., Marburg (Germany)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
BNL-210833-2018-JAAM
Journal ID: ISSN 1749-4885
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0012704
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Photonics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 13; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1749-4885
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Nuclear Physics (NP) (SC-26)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
43 PARTICLE ACCELERATORS
OSTI Identifier:
1489355

Tochitsky, Sergei, Welch, Eric, Polyanskiy, Mikhail, Pogorelsky, Igor, Panagiotopoulos, Paris, Kolesik, Miroslav, Wright, Ewan M., Koch, Stephan W., Moloney, Jerome V., Pigeon, Jeremy, and Joshi, Chan. Megafilament in air formed by self-guided terawatt long-wavelength infrared laser. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.1038/s41566-018-0315-0.
Tochitsky, Sergei, Welch, Eric, Polyanskiy, Mikhail, Pogorelsky, Igor, Panagiotopoulos, Paris, Kolesik, Miroslav, Wright, Ewan M., Koch, Stephan W., Moloney, Jerome V., Pigeon, Jeremy, & Joshi, Chan. Megafilament in air formed by self-guided terawatt long-wavelength infrared laser. United States. doi:10.1038/s41566-018-0315-0.
Tochitsky, Sergei, Welch, Eric, Polyanskiy, Mikhail, Pogorelsky, Igor, Panagiotopoulos, Paris, Kolesik, Miroslav, Wright, Ewan M., Koch, Stephan W., Moloney, Jerome V., Pigeon, Jeremy, and Joshi, Chan. 2018. "Megafilament in air formed by self-guided terawatt long-wavelength infrared laser". United States. doi:10.1038/s41566-018-0315-0.
@article{osti_1489355,
title = {Megafilament in air formed by self-guided terawatt long-wavelength infrared laser},
author = {Tochitsky, Sergei and Welch, Eric and Polyanskiy, Mikhail and Pogorelsky, Igor and Panagiotopoulos, Paris and Kolesik, Miroslav and Wright, Ewan M. and Koch, Stephan W. and Moloney, Jerome V. and Pigeon, Jeremy and Joshi, Chan},
abstractNote = {The diffraction-compensated propagation of high-power laser beams in air could open up new opportunities for atmospheric applications such as remote stand-off detection, long-range projection of high-energy laser pulses and free-space communications. Here, we experimentally demonstrate that a self-guided terawatt picosecond CO2 laser beam forms in air a single centimetre-scale-diameter megafilament that, in comparison with a short-wavelength laser filament, has four orders of magnitude larger cross-section and guides many joules of pulse energy over multiple Rayleigh distances at a clamped intensity of ~1012 W cm–2. We discover that this megafilament arises from the balance between self-focusing, diffraction and defocusing caused by free carriers generated via many-body Coulomb-induced ionization that effectively decrease the molecular polarizability during the long-wavelength laser pulse. Furthermore, modelling reveals that this guiding scheme may enable transport of high-power picosecond infrared pulses over many kilometres in the 8–14 μm atmospheric transmission window.},
doi = {10.1038/s41566-018-0315-0},
journal = {Nature Photonics},
number = 1,
volume = 13,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {12}
}

Works referenced in this record:

The HITRAN2012 molecular spectroscopic database
journal, November 2013
  • Rothman, L. S.; Gordon, I. E.; Babikov, Y.
  • Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, Vol. 130, p. 4-50
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jqsrt.2013.07.002