Third Harmonic Generation of a Short Pulse Laser in a Tunnel Ionizing Plasma: Effect of Self-Defocusing
Third harmonic generation of a Gaussian short pulse laser in a tunnel ionizing plasma is investigated. A Gaussian short pulse laser propagating through a tunnel ionizing plasma generates third harmonic wave. Inhomogeneity of the electric field along the wavefront of the fundamental laser pulse causes more ionization along the axis of propagation while less ionization off axis, leading to strong density gradient with its maximum on the axis of propagation. The medium acts like a diverging lens and pulse defocuses strongly. The normalized third harmonic amplitude varies periodically with the distance with successive maxima acquiring lower value. The self-defocusing of the fundamental laser pulse decays the intensity of the third harmonic pulse.
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