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Nakatsutsumi M , Marques JR , Antici P , Bourgeois N , Feugeas JL , Lin T , Nicolai P , Romagnani L , Kodama R , Audebert P , Fuchs J
High-power laser delocalization in plasmas leading to long-range beam merging
Nature Physics. 2010 Dec;6(12) :1010-1016
PMID: ISI:000284832600025   
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Attraction and fusion between co-propagating light beams, mutually coherent or not, can take place in nonlinear media as a result of the beam power modifying the refractive index of the medium. In the context of high-power light beams, induced modifications of the beam patterns could potentially impact many topics, including long-range laser propagation, the study of astrophysical colliding blast waves and inertial confinement fusion. Here, through experiments and simulations, we show that in a fully ionized plasma, which is a nonlinear medium, beam merging can take place for high-power and mutually incoherent beams that are initially separated by several beam diameters. This is in contrast to the usual assumption that this type of interaction is limited to beams separated by only one beam diameter. This effect, which is orders of magnitude more significant than Kerr-like nonlinearity in gases, demonstrates the importance of potential cross-talk amongst multiple beams in plasma.
Nakatsutsumi, M. Marques, J-R. Antici, P. Bourgeois, N. Feugeas, J. L. Lin, T. Nicolai, Ph. Romagnani, L. Kodama, R. Audebert, P. Fuchs, J. Region Ile-de-France [E1127]; CEA-EURATOM association ; EU community ; JSPS We acknowledge the support of the LULI teams and discussions with F. Amiranoff, L. Berge, S. N. Chen, S. Huller, M. Grech, S. Weber, J. P. Zou and Y. Sakawa. This work was supported by grant E1127 from Region Ile-de-France and by the CEA-EURATOM association as an IFE 'keep-in-touch' activity and by the Marie-Curie Actions programme from the EU community. M. N. was partially supported by JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships for Research Abroad. 41 Nature publishing group; macmillan building, 4 crinan st, london n1 9xw, england 688em