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Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Oct 22;93(17):173902. Epub 2004 Oct 22.

Self-compression of ultrashort pulses through ionization-induced spatiotemporal reshaping.

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JILA, University of Colorado and National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0440, USA.


We present the first demonstration of a new mechanism for temporal compression of ultrashort light pulses that operates at high (i.e., ionizing) intensities. By propagating pulses inside a hollow waveguide filled with low-pressure argon gas, we demonstrate a self-compression from 30 to 13 fs, without the need for any external dispersion compensation. Theoretical models show that 3D spatiotemporal reshaping of the pulse due to a combination of ionization-induced spectral broadening, plasma-induced refraction, and guiding in the hollow waveguide are necessary to explain the compression mechanism.

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