Plasma modulator for high-power intense lasers

Yao Zhao, Suming Weng, Zhengming Sheng, Ning Kang, Huiya Liu, Jianqiang Zhu, Jie Zhang

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A type of plasma-based optical modulator is proposed for the generation of broadband high-power laser pulses. Compared with normal optical components, plasma-based optical components can sustain much higher laser intensities. Here we illustrate via theory and simulation that a high-power sub-relativistic laser pulse can be self-modulated to a broad bandwidth over 100% after it passes through a tenuous plasma. In this scheme, the self-modulation of the incident picoseconds sub-relativistic pulse is realized via stimulated Raman forward rescattering in the quasi-linear regime, where the stimulated Raman backscattering is heavily dampened. The optimal laser and plasma parameters for this self-modulation have been identified. For a laser with asub-relativistic intensity of I ∼ 1017W/cm2, the time scale for the development of self-modulation is around 103 light periods when stimulated Raman forward scattering has been fully developed. Consequently, the spatial scale required for such a self-modulation is in the order of millimeters. For a tenuous plasma, the energy conversion efficiency of this self-modulation is around 90%. Theoretical predictions are verified by both one-dimensional and two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15794-15804
Number of pages11
JournalOptics Express
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2020


  • plasma-based optical modulators
  • high-power laser pulses
  • optical devices
  • Electrooptical modulators
  • laser plasmas
  • Raman scattering


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