Abstract

The self-focusing phenomenon of powerful Gaussian CO2-laser beams in collisional plasmas is analyzed using a new technique based on geometrical optics. The problem of self-focusing is reduced to a nonlinear differential equation in the beamwidth parameter, which is then numerically solved by using a computational technique and assuming that the laser beam and the plasma are either coupled or decoupled along the propagation path. The beamwidth parameter is, in general, a function of propagation distance, radial position, collisional-energy-loss to conduction-energy-loss ratio, initial beamwidth, laser power, and electron concentration to its critical-concentration ratio. The effect of variation of each of these parameters on the variation of the beamwidth parameter is investigated.

© 1982 Optical Society of America

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