Long range robust multi-terawatt MWIR and LWIR atmospheric light bullets

Jerome V. Moloney, Kolja Schuh, Paris Panagiotopoulos, M. Kolesik, S. W. Koch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


There is a strong push worldwide to develop multi-Joule femtosecond duration laser pulses at wavelengths around 3.5-4 and 9-11μm within important atmospheric transmission windows. We have shown that pulses with a 4 μm central wavelength are capable of delivering multi-TW powers at km range. This is in stark contrast to pulses at near-IR wavelengths which break up into hundreds of filaments with each carrying around 5 GW of power per filament over meter distances. We will show that nonlinear envelope propagators fail to capture the true physics. Instead a new optical carrier shock singularity emerges that can act to limit peak intensities below the ionization threshold leading to low loss long range propagation. At LWIR wavelengths many-body correlations of weakly-ionized electrons further suppress the Kerr focusing nonlinearity around 10μm and enable whole beam self-trapping without filaments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUltrafast Bandgap Photonics II
EditorsMichael K. Rafailov
ISBN (Electronic)9781510608870
StatePublished - 2017
EventUltrafast Bandgap Photonics II 2017 - Anaheim, United States
Duration: Apr 10 2017Apr 12 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherUltrafast Bandgap Photonics II 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • carrier shock
  • critical self-focusing
  • filament
  • long range propagation
  • whole beam self-trapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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