Self-channeling of a multi-Joule 10 µm picosecond pulse train through long distances in air

S. Y.A. Tochitsky, E. C. Welch, D. A. Matteo, P. Panagiotopoulos, M. Kolesik, J. V. Moloney, C. Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the long-wave infrared (LWIR) range, where, due to wavelength scaling, the critical power of Kerr self-focusing Pcr in air increases to 300-400 GW, we demonstrate that without external focusing a train of picosecond CO2 laser pulses can propagate in the form of a single several-centimeter diameter channel over hundreds of meters. The train of 10 µm pulses, for which the total energy ≥20 J is distributed over several near-terawatt picosecond pulses with a maximum power ≤2Pcr, is generated naturally during short pulse amplification in a CO2 laser. It is observed that the high-power 10 µm beam forms a large diameter “hot gas” channel in the ambient air with a ≥ 50 ms lifetime. Simulations of the experiment show that such filamentation-free self-channeling regime has low propagation losses and can deliver multi-Joule/TW-power LWIR pulses over km-scale distances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2067-2080
Number of pages14
JournalOptics Express
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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