Laser filamentation is understood to be self-channeling of intense ultrashort laser pulses achieved when the selffocusing because of the Kerr nonlinearity is balanced by ionization-induced defocusing. Here, we show that, right behind the ionized region of a laser filament, ultrashort laser pulses can couple into a much longer light channel, where a stable self-guiding spatial mode is sustained by the saturable self-focusing nonlinearity. In the limiting regime of negligibly low ionization, this post-filamentation beam dynamics converges to a large-scale beam self-trapping scenario known since the pioneering work on saturable self-focusing nonlinearities.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics