Proceedings PaperLaser Beam Self-Focusing And Related Instabilities In Low Density Plasmas
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We analyze the role of self-focusing in the interaction of a powerful laser beam with an underdense plasma and the main instabilities whose growth is enhanced by self-focusing. These latter are in turn showed to be useful diagnostics for the nonlinear process, which is expected to produce local heating and density gradients. We report some results from two experiments performed with laser sparks and preformed plasmas from solid targets.