Abstract

Thin-film compression (TFC) and the focusability of high-power laser pulses after self-phase modulation in thin films at transport intensities (1  TW/cm2) for petawatt laser systems is demonstrated. High-energy (296  mJ) laser pulses are compressed from 55  fs to 31  fs. Additionally, the focusability of high-power (4555  TW) flat-top laser pulses after spectral broadening in thin films is found to be largely maintained, showing only modest decreases in the energy contained in the central part of the focal spot. In light of these findings, TFC offers a method for moving toward single-cycle pulse durations at significantly higher energies than those found at present, and if beam instabilities can be mitigated, maybe even higher intensities.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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