Dynamics of intense laser propagation in underdense plasma: Polarization dependence

D. K. Singh, J. R. Davies, G. Sarri, F. Fiuza, L. O. Silva, Gianluca Sarri

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7 Citations (Scopus)


We present a comprehensive numerical study of the dynamics of an intense laser pulse as it propagates through an underdense plasma in two and three dimensions. By varying the background plasma density and the polarization of the laser beam, significant differences are found in terms of energy transport and dissipation, in agreement with recently reported experimental results. Below the threshold for relativistic self-focusing, the plasma and laser dynamics are observed to be substantially insensitive to the initial laser polarization, since laser transport is dominated by ponderomotive effects. Above this threshold, relativistic effects become important, and laser energy is dissipated either by plasma heating (p-polarization) or by trapping of electromagnetic energy into plasma cavities (s-polarization) or by a combination of both (circular polarization). Besides the fundamental interest of this study, the results presented are relevant to applications such as plasma-based accelerators, x-ray lasers, and fast-ignition inertial confinement fusion. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4737151]

Original languageEnglish
Article number073111
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages7
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


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