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Opt Express. 2011 Aug 15;19(17):16115-25. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.016115.

Characterization of laser-induced air plasmas by third harmonic generation.

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  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.


Third harmonic generation by a weak femtosecond probe pulse intersecting a pump laser-induced plasma in air is investigated and a general model is developed to describe such signal, applicable to a wide range of focusing and plasma conditions. The effect of the surrounding air on the generated signal is discussed. The third-order nonlinear susceptibility of an air plasma with electron density N(e) is determined to be χ(p)((3)) = χ(a)((3)) + γ(p)N(e) with γ(p) = 2 ± 1 × 10(-49) m(5) V(-2) and χ(a)((3)) being the third-order susceptibility in air. Lateral scans of the probe through the plasma are used to determine electron density profiles and the effect of focusing and phase mismatch is discussed.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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