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Proceedings Paper

Femtosecond laser breakdown of gases and transparent solid states: ultrafast space-time and spectrum-time resolved diagnostics of multicharged microplasma
Author(s): Sergey V. Garnov; Vladimir V. Bukin; Vasily V. Strelkov; Alexander A. Malyutin
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Paper Abstract

We present the results of experimental studies of formation and evolution of multiply ionized (multicharged) laser micro-size plasma produced in gases (air, nitrogen, argon and helium) and inside the transparent solids (fused silica) with high intensity (up to ~ 1017 W/cm2), ultrashort (τ ~100 fs), 800nm/400nm laser pulses tightly focused in a region of ~1.5 μm in diameter. The measuring techniques and experimental setups for generation and precise optical diagnostics of laser-induced plasma - pump-probe microinterferometry and ultrafast spectroscopy are described. The measured spatiotemporal distributions of plasma refractive index/electron density and plasma spectra are demonstrated. In the experiments, the main attention was paid to the most intriguing initial stage of ultrafast plasma formation and evolution characterized by strong laser-matter and laser-plasma coupling resulting in efficient photoionization of material and plasma heating. We found out that the almost complete ionization (down to nuclei) of the initial gas occurs even at the initial stage of plasma formation. Besides, it was observed, for the first time, that a characteristic time of laser plasma formation considerably (in times) exceeds the duration of the pump laser pulse. This postionization process is attributed to impact ionization of plasma by hot electrons heated due to inverse bremsstrahlung. A theoretical model describing the mechanism of plasma postionization by hot photoelectrons was proposed. We compare the results of the experiments with what the theory predicts - the results of electron density calculations are in good agreement with the experimental data. The dynamics of plasma emission (spectral continuum and spectral line formation) in UV-visible spectral range was investigated with a picosecond time resolution applying the developed ultrafast streak-camera-based spectrometer. The spatiotemporal distributions of refractive index of laser irradiated fused silica were recorded with pump-probe microinterferometry. It was demonstrated that the induced refractive index of laser-matter interaction area changes its sign from the positive to the negative during the laser irradiation and again to the positive one after the laser pulse ends.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 December 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7132, Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 2008, 71320P (30 December 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.804396
Show Author Affiliations
Sergey V. Garnov, A.M. Prokhorov General Physics Institute (Russia)
Vladimir V. Bukin, A.M. Prokhorov General Physics Institute (Russia)
Vasily V. Strelkov, A.M. Prokhorov General Physics Institute (Russia)
Alexander A. Malyutin, A.M. Prokhorov General Physics Institute (Russia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7132:
Laser-Induced Damage in Optical Materials: 2008
Gregory J. Exarhos; Detlev Ristau; M. J. Soileau; Christopher J. Stolz, Editor(s)

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