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Light-Matter Interaction of Strong Laser Pulses in the Micro-, Nano-, and Pico-second Regimes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2011

Hans Agren
Affiliation:
agren@theochem.kth.se, Royal Institute of Technology, Theoretical Chemistry, SE-100, Stockholm, 44, Sweden
Pontus Welinder
Affiliation:
agren@theochem.kth.se, Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, SE-581, Linköping, 83, Sweden
Robert Erlandsson
Affiliation:
agren@theochem.kth.se, Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, SE-581, Linköping, 83, Sweden
Johan Henriksson
Affiliation:
agren@theochem.kth.se, Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, SE-581, Linköping, 83, Sweden
Patrick Norman
Affiliation:
agren@theochem.kth.se, Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, SE-581, Linköping, 83, Sweden
Hans Ågren
Affiliation:
agren@theochem.kth.se, Royal Institute of Technology, Theoretical Chemistry, SE-100, Stockholm, 44, Sweden
Corresponding
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Abstract

Light propagation in a medium is sensitively dependent on the shape and intensity of the optical pulse as well as on the electronic and vibrational structure of the basic molecular units. We review in this paper results of systematic studies of this problem for isotropic media. Our theoretical approach|the quantum mechanical{electrodynamical (QMED) approach is based on a quantum mechanical account of the many-level electron-nuclear medium coupled to a numerical solution of the density matrix and Maxwell's equations. This allows to accommodate a variety of nonlinear e ects which accomplish the propagation of strong light pulses. Particular attention is paid to the understanding of the role of coherent and sequential excitations of electron-nuclear degrees of freedom. The QMED combination of quantum chemistry with classical pulse propagation allows to estimate the optical transmission from cross sections of multi-photon absorption processes and from considerations of propagation e ects, saturation and pulse e ects. Results of the theory suggest that in the nonlinear regime it is often necessary to account simultaneously for coherent one-step and incoherent step-wise multi-photon absorption, as well as for o -resonant excitations even when resonance conditions prevail. The dynamic theory of nonlinear propagation of a few interacting intense light pulses is here highlighted in a study of the optical power limiting with platinum-organic molecular compounds.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2007

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