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

Sergei Tochitsky, Eric Welch, Mikhail Polyanskiy, Igor Pogorelsky, Paris Panagiotopoulos, Miroslav Kolesik, Ewan M Wright, Stephan W Koch, Jerome V Moloney, Jeremy Pigeon, Chan Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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. 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalNature Photonics
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

Infrared lasers
infrared lasers
Laser beams
Laser pulses
Diffraction
High energy lasers
Wavelength
air
High power lasers
Air
pulses
wavelengths
Wave propagation
Ionization
diffraction propagation
laser beams
Infrared radiation
lasers
space communication
Lasers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

Cite this

Tochitsky, S., Welch, E., Polyanskiy, M., Pogorelsky, I., Panagiotopoulos, P., Kolesik, M., ... Joshi, C. (2019). Megafilament in air formed by self-guided terawatt long-wavelength infrared laser. Nature Photonics, 13(1), 41-46. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-018-0315-0

Megafilament in air formed by self-guided terawatt long-wavelength infrared laser. / 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.

In: Nature Photonics, Vol. 13, No. 1, 01.01.2019, p. 41-46.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tochitsky, S, Welch, E, Polyanskiy, M, Pogorelsky, I, Panagiotopoulos, P, Kolesik, M, Wright, EM, Koch, SW, Moloney, JV, Pigeon, J & Joshi, C 2019, 'Megafilament in air formed by self-guided terawatt long-wavelength infrared laser', Nature Photonics, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 41-46. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-018-0315-0
Tochitsky S, Welch E, Polyanskiy M, Pogorelsky I, Panagiotopoulos P, Kolesik M et al. Megafilament in air formed by self-guided terawatt long-wavelength infrared laser. Nature Photonics. 2019 Jan 1;13(1):41-46. https://doi.org/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. In: Nature Photonics. 2019 ; Vol. 13, No. 1. pp. 41-46.
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