Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


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Published by American Physical Society. Physical Review Letters 77, 5381 (1996). Copyright © 1996 American Physical Society. Permission to use.


The temporal envelope of plasma density oscillations in the wake of an intense (l∼4×1018 W/cm2, λ = 1 μm) laser pulse (400 fs) is measured using forward Thomson scattering from a copropagating, frequency-doubled probe pulse. The wakefield oscillations in a fully ionized helium plasma (ne = 3×1019 cm-3) are observed to reach maximum amplitude ( δne/ne∼0.1) 300 fs after the pump pulse. The wakefield growth ( 3.5 ps-1) and decay ( 1.9 ps-1) rates are consistent with the forward Raman scattering instability and Landau damping, respectively.

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