Nonlinear relativistic interaction of an ultrashort laser pulse with a cold plasma

J. M. Rax, N. J. Fisch

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23 Scopus citations


The nonlinear, relativistic dynamics that results when intense (10 18 W/cm2 and above) and ultrashort (one plasma period or shorter) laser pulse travels through a cold underdense plasma is investigated. Using a Lagrangian analysis of the plasma response, it can be demonstrated that the nonlinear wake, the collective dissipation, the nonlinear Compton losses, and the harmonic generation, are all determined by a finite set of integrated scalar quantities. This result holds for one-dimensional, short pulses of arbitrary amplitude, shape, and polarization, so that these very short intense laser pulses in a plasma can be viewed essentially as a quasiparticle characterized by a small set of global parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1323-1331
Number of pages9
JournalPhysics of Fluids B
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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