The self-compression of a relativistic Gaussian laser pulse propagating in a non-uniform plasma is investigated. A linear density inhomogeneity (density ramp) is assumed in the axial direction. The nonlinear Schrodinger equation is first solved within a one-dimensional geometry by using the paraxial formalism to demonstrate the occurrence of longitudinal pulse compression and the associated increase in intensity. Both longitudinal and transverse self-compression in plasma is examined for a finite extent Gaussian laser pulse. A pair of appropriate trial functions, for the beam width parameter (in space) and the pulse width parameter (in time) are defined and the corresponding equations of space and time evolution are derived. A numerical investigation shows that inhomogeneity in the plasma can further boost the compression mechanism and localize the pulse intensity, in comparison with a homogeneous plasma. A 100 fs pulse is compressed in an inhomogeneous plasma medium by more than ten times. Our findings indicate the possibility for the generation of particularly intense and short pulses, with relevance to the future development of tabletop high-power ultrashort laser pulse based particle acceleration devices and associated high harmonic generation. An extension of the model is proposed to investigate relativistic laser pulse compression in magnetized plasmas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering