Lasing effect in femtosecond filaments in air

Abstract : Femtosecond laser filamentation in air is a phenomenon that involves a rich family of nonlinear optic effects. Lasing effect from filaments has emerged as a new phenomenon in 2011. It has been actively studied in recent 5 years not only because of its potential applications in remote sensing techniques but also the fruitful physics involved. This thesis is devoted to the study of two types of lasing effect from filament plasma generated by 800 nm femtosecond laser pulses in air or pure nitrogen. The first is the bidirectional amplified spontaneous emission at 337 nm wavelength of neutral nitrogen molecules, only enabled by circularly-polarized pulses. The population inversion mechanism is attributed to inelastic electron-molecule collisions between energetic electrons and neutral nitrogen molecules on the ground state. Full characterization of both forward and backward 337 nm lasing pulse is conducted. Particularly the temporal profile measurements is compared to numerical simulations based on one-dimensional Maxwell-Bloch equation, which turns out to be in good agreement. Another type of lasing effect is related to excited nitrogen ion, emitting at 391 nm and 428 nm wavelengths. This type of lasing effect can only be observed with linearly-polarized pump laser. It is systematically characterized in spatial, temporal and spectral domains. The temporal profile results proves that ionic lasing emission is fundamentally superradiance. A new mechanism, namely the electron recollision excitation process, is proposed for the achievement of population distribution in the upper level of transition. It is supported by two experimental measurements consisting of pump ellipticity dependence and pump wavelength dependence of 391 nm lasing intensity. Numerical simulations give good agreement with the experimental observation.
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Pengji Ding. Lasing effect in femtosecond filaments in air. Physics [physics]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016SACLX053⟩. ⟨tel-01488725⟩

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