News & Events

The extreme nonlinear optics of air and femtosecond optical filamentation

Dr. Howard M. Milchberg, University of Maryland

Monday, November 25, 2013
3 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

Sloan Auditorium

Under certain conditions, powerful ultrashort laser pulses can form greatly extended filaments of concentrated high intensity in gases, leaving behind a very long trail of plasma. Such filaments can be much longer than the longitudinal scale over which a laser beam typically diverges by diffraction. Applications range from laser-guided electrical discharges to remote sensing. Air is a medium of particular interest for applications, and as a mostly molecular gas it is interesting from a physics perspective as well. The experimental program at Maryland has two tracks. One is to do fundamental measurements of the nonlinear response of gas phase atoms and molecules with unprecedented precision in space and time. The other is to use this understanding in filamentation experiments. I will discuss several of our recent filament-related experiments, including the development of air waveguides for remote transport of high average power laser beams.