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Theory and simulation on the threshold of water breakdown induced by focused ultrashort laser pulses

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9 Author(s)
Feng, Q. ; Center for Math. Sci., Arizona Univ., Tucson, AZ, USA ; Moloney, J.V. ; Newell, A.C. ; Wright, E.M.
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A comprehensive model is developed for focused pulse propagation in water. The model incorporates self-focusing, group velocity dispersion, and laser-induced breakdown in which an electron plasma is generated via cascade and multiphoton ionization processes. The laser-induced breakdown is studied first without considering self-focusing to give a breakdown threshold of the light intensity, which compares favorably with existing experimental results. The simple study also yields the threshold dependence on pulse duration and input spot size, thus providing a framework to view the results of numerical simulations of the full model. The simulations establish the breakdown threshold in input power and reveal qualitatively different behavior for picoand femto-second pulses. For longer pulses, the cascade process provides the breakdown mechanism, while for shorter pulses the cooperation between the self-focusing and the multiphoton plasma generation dominates the breakdown threshold

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Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:33 ,  Issue: 2 )