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8 May 2018 Simulation of LWIR TW ultrashort pulses over kilometer ranges in the atmosphere
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We have identified major paradigm shifts relative to near-IR filamentation when high power multiple terawatt laser pulses are propagated at mid-IR and long-IR wavelengths within key atmospheric transmission windows. Individual filaments at near-IR (800 nm) wavelengths typically persist only over tens of centimeters, despite the whole beam supporting them being sustained over about a Rayleigh range. In the important mid-IR atmospheric window (3.2 - 4 μm) optical carrier wave self-steepening (carrier shocks) tend to dominate and modify the onset of long range filaments. These shocks generate bursts of higher harmonic dispersive waves that constrain the intensity growth of the filament to well below the traditional ionization limit, making long range low loss propagation possible. For long wavelength pulses in the 8-12 μm atmospheric transmission window, many-electron dephasing collisions from separate gas species act to dynamically suppress the traditional Kerr self-focusing lens and leads to a new type of whole beam self-trapping over multiple Rayleigh ranges. This prediction is key, since strong linear diffraction at these wavelengths are the major limitation and normally requires large launch beam apertures. We will present simulation results that predict multiple Rayleigh range propagation paths for whole beam self-trapping and will also discuss some recent efforts to extend the HITRAN linear atmospheric transmission/refractive index database to include nonlinear responses of important atmospheric molecular constituents.
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P. Panagiotopoulos, P. Rosenow, K. Schuh, M. Kolesik, E. M. Wright, S. W. Koch, and J. V. Moloney "Simulation of LWIR TW ultrashort pulses over kilometer ranges in the atmosphere", Proc. SPIE 10638, Ultrafast Bandgap Photonics III, 106381L (8 May 2018);

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