Abstract

Shadowgraph studies of the explosive vaporization of a transparent water droplet after irradiation by a high intensity beam show that dielectric breakdown occurs within the droplet shadow face and generates a dense plasma, which absorbs the laser pulse. The convective forces expel the vapor from the droplet shadow face. We have deduced (1) the vapor propagation velocities, (2) the recoil velocity of the remaining droplet, and (3) the deformation rate of the illuminated face. Droplets are noted to eject fingerlike material from the surface facing the single laser-vaporized droplet when the asymmetrical vapor intercepts the neighboring droplets.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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