High-energy ultrashort laser pulse compression in hollow planar waveguides.

Laboratoire d'Optique Appliquée, CNRS UMR 7639, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Techniques Avancées-Ecole Polytechnique, F-91761 Palaiseau CEDEX, France.
Optics Letters (Impact Factor: 3.39). 06/2009; 34(9):1462-4. DOI: 10.1364/OL.34.001462
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We demonstrate compression of high-energy ultrashort laser pulses by nonlinear propagation inside gas-filled planar hollow waveguides. We adjust the input beam size along the nonguided dimension of the planar waveguide to restrain the intensity below photoionization, while the relatively long range guided propagation yields significant self-phase modulation and spectral broadening. We compare the compression in different noble gases and obtain 13.6 fs duration with output pulse energy of 8.1 mJ in argon and 11.5 fs duration with 7.6 mJ energy in krypton. The broadened spectra at the output of the waveguide are uniform over more than 70% of the total pulse energy. Shorter duration could be obtained at the expense of the introduction of spatial structure in the beam (and eventual formation of filaments) resulting from small-scale self-focusing in the nonguided direction.

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    ABSTRACT: We study in detail the compression of high-energy ultrashort laser pulses to the few-cycle regime in gas-filled planar hollow waveguides. In this scheme, the laser beam is guided in only one transverse dimension, whereas the other dimension is free to adjust, allowing scalability to high pulse energies. We report on various practical aspects of the planar hollow waveguide compression scheme and characterize the dependence of the performance of the method on several experimental parameters: (i) we evaluate different materials for the construction of planar waveguides; (ii) we investigate the dependence of the pulse duration on gas type and pressure; (iii) we measure the spatial intensity and phase; (iv) we characterize the pulse duration along the transverse beam direction; and (v) we investigate the focusability. An output pulse energy of 10.6 mJ at a duration of 10.1 fs (FWHM) in the beam center after compression is demonstrated. A careful estimation reveals that the radiation should be focusable to a relativistic intensity exceeding 1019 W cm−2 in the few-cycle regime. The experimental results are supported by numerical modeling of nonlinear pulse propagation inside planar hollow waveguides. We discuss energy up-scalability exceeding the 100 mJ level.
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    ABSTRACT: We propose a hollow tapered planar waveguide for compression of high-energy ultrashort laser pulses. Direct measurements suggest that it seems to find a very good trade-off among the energy throughput, the beam focusability, and the pulse compressibility. With a Ti:sapphire laser pulse of 12.0mJ and 40 fs, our experiment produces an output pulse of 9.4 fs duration with energy 9.1mJ (transverse magnetic mode) or 10.0mJ (transverse electric mode) in argon, each exhibiting a nice spatial mode. To evaluate such a tapered waveguide, the linear wave propagation theory and the solution to its complex propagation constant are also presented.
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