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From random to controlled small-scale filamentation in water

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Simple apertures such as slits and meshes inserted in the beam path of a powerful Ti:Sapphire laser pulse are suitable to produce stable 1-D and 2-D arrays of filaments in liquids. The thus imposed intensity gradients and diffraction patterns can overcome the inherent beam irregularities which naturally give rise to random small-scale multiple filamentations. This method is visualized by means of two photon fluorescence imaging.

©2004 Optical Society of America

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Figures (4)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1. Two photon fluorescence imaging illustrates small-scale multiple filamentation in water from nearly discernible ripples in the entrance beam (left image). The hot spots in the exit beam (right image) and the enlarged section of the side view demonstrate the appearance of randomly distributed filaments. The individual diameters refer to 1/e levels.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2. Creation of a space-fixed 1-D array of filaments by launching the beam through a 200μm wide slit built from razorblades with small mechanical imperfections. The available input intensity was somewhat reduced to avoid white light production along the propagation length. The image shows a side view of developing filaments and the corresponding spot structure of the exit beam.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3. Creation of space-controlled 2-D arrays of filaments by launching the beam through a wire mesh (11×11 meshes, mesh 497μm, wire diameter 54μm). (a) Characteristic diffraction patterns for various distances. The shown image sections (1mm×1mm) contain the center mesh and half of its neighbors. (b) Corresponding white light patterns when the dye cell from Fig. 3(a) is replaced by a 10mm water cell.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4. Creation of space controlled 1-D arrays of filaments by launching the beam through a slit mesh (11 meshes, the same as in Fig. 3). (a) Side view of filamentation and generation of white light (bright zone on the right) and the corresponding exit image for a mesh to cell distance of 27 mm. (b) Characteristic white light patterns from a 7-mesh slit for various mesh positions. The slit size is given in the right panel for direct comparison.


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