Abstract

The frequency shift and the pulse compression of an ultrashort laser pulse propagating in a background plasma wave are unified in the concept of phase modulation of the laser pulse by the plasma wave. An equation for the evolution of the pulse width is obtained, which is analogous to the energy-conservation equation for a classical particle moving in a potential well. The threshold amplitude of the plasma wave for pulse compression is estimated. Numerical calculations are presented to confirm these results. Laser pulse compression by a plasma wave should be feasible.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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