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Phys Rev Lett. 2011 Jun 17;106(24):243902. Epub 2011 Jun 14.

Transition from plasma-driven to Kerr-driven laser filamentation.

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1
Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Carnot de Bourgogne (ICB), UMR 5209 CNRS-Université de Bourgogne, BP 47870, Dijon, France. pierre.bejot@unige.ch

Abstract

While filaments are generally interpreted as a dynamic balance between Kerr focusing and plasma defocusing, the role of the higher-order Kerr effect (HOKE) is actively debated as a potentially dominant defocusing contribution to filament stabilization. In a pump-probe experiment supported by numerical simulations, we demonstrate the transition between two distinct filamentation regimes at 800 nm. For long pulses (1.2 ps), the plasma substantially contributes to filamentation, while this contribution vanishes for short pulses (70 fs). These results confirm the occurrence, in adequate conditions, of filamentation driven by the HOKE rather than by plasma.

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