WIAS Preprint No. 1606, (2011)

Filamentary pulse self-compression: The impact of the cell windows


  • Brée, Carsten
  • Demircan, Ayhan
  • Bethge, Jens
  • Nibbering, Erik T. J.
  • Skupin, Stefan
  • Bergé, Luc
  • Steinmeyer, Günter

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 78A60

2008 Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme

  • 42.65.-k 42.65.Jx 42.65.Re


  • Nonlinear Optics, Femtosecond Filamentation, Pulse compression


Self-compression of multi-millijoule laser pulses during filamentary propagation is usually explained by the interplay of self-focusing and defocusing effects, causing a substantial concentration of energy on the axis of the propagating optical pulse. Recently, it has been argued that cell windows may play a decisive role in the self-compression mechanism. As such windows have to be used for media other than air their presence is often unavoidable, yet they present a sudden non-adiabatic change in dispersion and nonlinearity that should lead to a destruction of the temporal and spatial integrity of the light bullets generated in the self-compression mechanism. We now experimentally prove that there is in fact a self-healing mechanism that helps to overcome the potentially destructive consequences of the cell windows. We show in two carefully conducted experiments that the cell window position decisively influences activation or inhibition of the self-healing mechanism. A comparison with a windowless cell shows that presence of this mechanism is an important prerequisite for the exploitation of self-compression effects in windowed cells filled with inert gases.

Appeared in

  • Phys. Rev. A, 83 (2011) pp. 043803/1-043803/7.

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