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Opt Lett. 2007 Aug 15;32(16):2432-4.

Sub-10-fs supercontinuum radiation generated by filamentation of few-cycle 800 nm pulses in argon.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik, D-85741 Garching, Germany.


Focusing 12 fs pulses of 800 nm with moderate energy (0.35 mJ) into atmospheric-pressure argon (Ar) gives rise to filamentation (self-focusing) and a supercontinuum with a very broad pedestal, extending to 250 nm. According to the present understanding, the short wavelengths are produced by self-phase modulation in the self-steepened trailing edge of the pulse. Pulses in this spectral range might thus be intrinsically short. Indeed we demonstrate this by extracting the light near the end of the filament, terminating self-focusing by a pressure gradient at a pinhole, beyond which the Ar is pumped away. We obtain pulses of 9.7 fs in the region of 290 nm without the necessity of compression.


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