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Direct imaging of the acoustic waves generated by femtosecond filaments in air

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Abstract

We present time-resolved measurements of the gas acoustic dynamics following interaction of spatial single- and higher-mode 50 fs, 800 nm pulses in air at 10 Hz and 1 kHz repetition rates. Results are in excellent agreement with hydrodynamic simulations. Under no conditions for single filaments do we find on-axis enhancement of gas density; this occurs only with multifilaments. We also investigate the propagation of probe beams in the gas density profile induced by a single extended filament. We find that light trapping in the expanding annular acoustic wave can create the impression of on-axis guiding in a limited temporal window.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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