Subcycle Dynamics of Laser-induced Ionization and Tailored Laser Filaments
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Powerful laser pulses with duration of few optical cycles and less open up new venues of nonlinear optics and yield novel applications for quantum optics, electronics and solid-state physics. In the present Ph.D. research we study, by means of supercomputer simulations, new approaches to powerful ultrashort pulse self-transformation in laser-induced filaments and filament-like regimes. We have found new regimes in which unprecedentedly short powerful light pulses in optical domain can be generated in helium via shock wave formation at the optimum pulse compression point. We have found general scaling laws that extend nonlinear pulse self-transformation regimes to arbitrarily high powers. We also study photoionization dynamics in solids at ultrashort timescales and develop a simple closed-form quantum-mechanical model of ultrafast photoionization and optical properties of photoionized solids, applicable for pulses of arbitrary shape and duration, in a wide range of field intensities, and in a wide range frequencies of field and of nonlinear response. Our model provides single self-consistent framework for nonlinear optics of absorbing semiconductors and transparent dielectrics in high intensity fields. Using our ultrafast photoionization framework we refine criteria of ultrafast light-induced damage in the transparent material. Our simulations of ultrashort pulse propagation through photoionized solid using finite-difference time domain code predict complex charge field dynamics in the bulk of the solid, not described by semiclassical model of optical properties of solid-state plasma. We found non-monotonous dependence of solid-state plasma density in the wake of the pulse on depth inside the solid due to high-harmonic generation, phase matching and absorption. Physical effects captured by our model show potential of ultrafast photoionization for future solid-state optoelectronics and information processing as it allows precise control of charge dynamics inside solids at time scales 6 orders of magnitude faster than currently available semiconductor electronics.
Zhokhov, Petr (2015). Subcycle Dynamics of Laser-induced Ionization and Tailored Laser Filaments. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from