Vortices in ultrashort laser pulses
Peter Hansinger, Alexander Dreischuh, and Gerhard G. Paulus
The propagation of optical vortices nested in broadband femtosecond laser beams was studied both numerically and experimentally. Based on the nonlinear Schrödinger equation, the dynamics of different multiple vortex configurations with varying topological charge were modeled in self-focusing and self-defocusing Kerr media. We find a similar behavior in both cases regarding the vortex–vortex interaction. However, the collapsing background beam alters the propagation for a positive nonlinearity. Regimes of regular and possibly stable multiple filamentation were identified this way. Experiments include measurements on pairs of filaments generated in a vortex beam on an astigmatic Gaussian background with argon gas as the nonlinear medium. Spectral broadening of these filaments leads to a supercontinuum which spans from the visible range into the infrared. Recompression yields <19 fs pulses. Further optimization may lead to much better recompression.