Femtosecond laser filamentation

S. L. Chin, Center for Optics (COPL), Engineering Physics and Optics, Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec, G1V 0A6, Canada

Abstract: An intense femtosecond laser pulse when propagating in an optical medium will self-focus leaving behind a "filament" of weak plasma. In air, such filamentation can reach long distances up to km ranges. The physics of filamentation and some potential applications will be discussed. The latter include "filamentation nonlinear optics" and remote detection of chemical and biological targets using only one laser.