The goal of this paper is to elucidate the theoretical underpinnings of the metastable electronic state approach (MESA) and demonstrate its utility for the evaluation of the nonlinear optical response of noble-gas atoms with emphasis on the application of the method to the propagation of multicolor optical fields in large-scale, spatially resolved simulations. More specifically, single-active-electron models of various atoms are employed to calculate their nonlinear properties both within the adiabatic approximation, involving a single metastable state and beyond, capturing inertial effects, and wavelength-dependent ionization. Simulations for excitation pulses at different center wavelengths as well as ionization in two-color pulses are presented and compared with numerical solutions of the time-dependent Schrödinger equation. Illustrative examples of the numerical simulation of high-power pulse propagation incorporating MESA data are also presented and showcase the successful application to optical filamentation in the midinfrared region.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics