Long range robust multi-terawatt MWIR and LWIR atmospheric light bullets

Jerome V Moloney, Kolja Schuh, Paris Panagiotopoulos, Miroslav Kolesik, Stephan W Koch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


There is a strong push worldwide to develop multi-Joule femtosecond duration laser pulses at wavelengths around 3.5-4 and 9-11μm within important atmospheric transmission windows. We have shown that pulses with a 4 μm central wavelength are capable of delivering multi-TW powers at km range. This is in stark contrast to pulses at near-IR wavelengths which break up into hundreds of filaments with each carrying around 5 GW of power per filament over meter distances. We will show that nonlinear envelope propagators fail to capture the true physics. Instead a new optical carrier shock singularity emerges that can act to limit peak intensities below the ionization threshold leading to low loss long range propagation. At LWIR wavelengths many-body correlations of weakly-ionized electrons further suppress the Kerr focusing nonlinearity around 10μm and enable whole beam self-trapping without filaments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUltrafast Bandgap Photonics II
ISBN (Electronic)9781510608870
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventUltrafast Bandgap Photonics II 2017 - Anaheim, United States
Duration: Apr 10 2017Apr 12 2017


OtherUltrafast Bandgap Photonics II 2017
CountryUnited States



  • carrier shock
  • critical self-focusing
  • filament
  • long range propagation
  • whole beam self-trapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this

Moloney, J. V., Schuh, K., Panagiotopoulos, P., Kolesik, M., & Koch, S. W. (2017). Long range robust multi-terawatt MWIR and LWIR atmospheric light bullets. In Ultrafast Bandgap Photonics II (Vol. 10193). [101930K] SPIE. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262142