All-optical suppression of relativistic self-focusing of laser beams in plasmas
MetadataShow full item record
It is demonstrated that a catastrophic relativistic self-focusing (RSF) of a high-power laser pulse can be prevented all-optically by a second, much weaker, copropagating pulse. RSF suppression occurs when the difference frequency of the pulses slightly exceeds the electron plasma frequency. The mutual defocusing is caused by the three-dimensional electron density perturbation driven by the laser beat wave slightly above the plasma resonance. A bienvelope model describing the early stage of the mutual defocusing is derived and analyzed. Later stages, characterized by the presence of a strong electromagnetic cascade, are investigated numerically. Stable propagation of the laser pulse with weakly varying spot size and peak amplitude over several Rayleigh lengths is predicted.