Generation of Low-Order Harmonic in Air by Intense Femtosecond Laser Pulses

  • Jayashree A. Dharmadhikari
  • Aditya K. DharmadhikariEmail author
Part of the Springer Series in Chemical Physics book series (CHEMICAL, volume 118)


This chapter summarizes some of our recent work on the low-order harmonic generation in air using intense femtosecond pulses. Our results highlight the dependence of experimental conditions such as incident wavelength, external focusing and laser polarization on harmonic generation. For tight focusing condition, third harmonic generation (THG) in air using linearly polarized light 800 nm, yield an efficiency of ~0.5%. Although THG using a circularly polarized light is not possible, in our experiments we do observe weak THG signal due to depolarization of the incident circularly polarized light. For wavelengths longer than 800 nm, easy detection of lower order harmonics in air is possible. Using longer wavelength of 2 μm, we observe generation of third, fifth, and seventh harmonics in the air by tightly focused, femtosecond duration pulses. The ratio of fifth-to-third-harmonic efficiency was found to be 0.28, in agreement with the prediction based on higher-order Kerr effect model. An enhancement in the third harmonic efficiency was observed for co-propagating laser pulses of two different wavelengths when the incident power was lower than the critical power for self-focusing. The third harmonic efficiency at 1.35 μm wavelength was enhanced fourfold in the presence of a second beam at 2.09 μm wavelength. Finally, we discuss enhancement in the spectral extent of supercontinuum generation in air for tight focusing condition relative to the loose focusing condition. Moreover, supercontinuum has a higher yield for incident beam of linear polarization compared to that obtained using circular polarization at the same energy, this difference in yield, reduces for tighter focusing condition.



The Department of Science and Technology is thanked for assistance to JAD under the Women Scientists Scheme. We would like to acknowledge Professor Deepak Mathur for his encouragement. We also acknowledge the skills and continuing enthusiasm of colleagues A. Nath, Stephen Edward and R. Bernard.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jayashree A. Dharmadhikari
    • 1
  • Aditya K. Dharmadhikari
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Atomic and Molecular PhysicsManipal Academy of Higher EducationManipalIndia
  2. 2.Tata Institute of Fundamental ResearchMumbaiIndia

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