Senior Scientist ("Directeur de Recherche") at CNRS


Address CPHT, Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau cedex, France
Phone number +33-(0)1 69 33 42 24
Fax number +33-(0)1 69 33 49 49
Office Building 6, office 06.1028

Non linear light matter interaction and filamentation physics

We develop new models and numerical tools for understanding fundamental processes associated with femtosecond filamentation physics and laser-mater interaction at intensities in the range 1-100 TW/cm2. In particular, we focus on the generation of secondary radiation such as broadband super-continuum spectra and THz radiation.  In parallel, we are working on applications of filamentation such as laser guided discharges, micro-machining of glasses with femtosecond laser pulses undergoing filamentation, atmospheric applications such as filament-based detection of pollutants, and the generation of underwater acoustic signals by femtosecond laser.

Filaments with Bessel beams in glasses - Micromachining applications

We are working on the control of laser energy deposition in glasses for micro- and nano-machining applications [1-6], in collaboration with the teams of O. Jedrkiewicz (University of Insubria, Como, Italy), F. Courvoisir (Femto-ST, Besançon), R. Stoian and T. Itina (Univ. Jean-Monnet, St –Etienne). The main goal is to control laser energy deposition in the bulk of a transparent solid so as to obtain a high aspect ratio plasma channel and drill the material, potentially in a single laser shot, which is desirable in applications such as ultrafast ablation and prototyping of glass, microfluidics, etc. We investigate the nonlinear propagation of Bessel beams for their ability to focus along a line rather than a localized region. We also investigate high-order Bessel beams, the main lobe of which focus along a tubular focal region, allowing for a simultaneous control of the diameter, length and density of the micro-plasma channel generated in a glass

[1] Jukna V, Milián C, Xie C, Itina T, Dudley J, Courvoisier F, et al. Filamentation with nonlinear Bessel vortices. Optics Express 22, 25410-25 (2014).

[2] Arnold CL, Akturk S, Mysyrowicz A, Jukna V, Couairon A, Itina T, et al. Nonlinear Bessel vortex beams for applications. Journal of Physics B-Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics 48, 094006 (2015).

[3] Jedrkiewicz O, Minardi S, Couairon A, Jukna V, Selva M, Di Trapani P. Plasma absorption evidence via chirped pulse spectral transmission measurements. Applied Physics Letters 106, 231101 (2015).

[4] Xie C, Giust R, Jukna V, Furfaro L, Jacquot M, Lacourt P-A, et al. Light trajectory in Bessel-Gauss vortex beams. Journal of the Optical Society of America a-Optics Image Science and Vision 32, 1313-6 (2015).

[5] Xie C, Jukna V, Milián C, Giust R, Ouadghiri-Idrissi I, Itina T, Dudley J. M., Couairon A., Courvoisier F. Tubular filamentation for laser material processing. Scientific Reports 5, 8914 (2015).

[6] Courvoisier F, Stoian R, Couairon A. [INVITED] Ultrafast laser micro- and nano-processing with nondiffracting and curved beams: Invited paper for the section: Hot topics in Ultrafast Lasers. Optics and Laser Technology 80, 125-37 (2016).

Filamentation from a satellite for global measurements of pollutants in the atmosphere

In collaboration with the European Space Agency, we worked on modelling and numerical simulations of filamentation in the atmosphere from a laser source onboard a satellite. This was motivated by femtosecond LIDAR applications. The principle is illustrated in Fig. 1: A femtosecond laser source generates a filament and its associated white light super-continuum in the atmosphere. The backscattered signal is collected by the satellite allowing a multispectral and global analysis of the atmosphere. Compared to a standard terrestrial LIDAR technique, this system takes advantage of scanning an extended spectral domain in single shot. It also allows global measurement of the atmosphere with a single (orbiting) laser source. We have determined the laser parameters for generating the filament and the continuum of white light at a given altitude, in order to develop future space missions for global measurements of the atmosphere.

Fig. 1 : Principe for the femtosecond LIDAR onboard a satellite [Dicaire et al. 2016].

[7] Dicaire I, Jukna V, Praz C, Milian C, Summerer L, Couairon A. Spaceborne laser filamentation for atmospheric remote sensing. Laser Photonics Reviews 10, 481-93 (2016).

[8] Quinn MN, Jukna V, Ebisuzaki T, Dicaire I, Soulard R, Summerer L, A. Couairon, G. Mourou. Space-based application of the CAN laser to LIDAR and orbital debris remediation. European Physical Journal - Special Topics 224, 2645-55 (2015).

Generation of acoustic waves in water by femtosecond laser

We are working on theory and numerical simulation of the generation of acoustic sources in water by focusing a femtosecond laser beam. The experimental part of this project is developed by A. Houard’s team at LOA. The interest of using a femtosecond laser is to be able to generate remote acoustic signals thanks to the long-distance propagation properties of filaments, without immersion of the acoustic source. 

We have investigated the propagation dynamics of a femtosecond laser pulse in water by means of numerical simulations and comparisons with dedicated measurements. We model and simulate laser energy deposition in water, heating and formation of a cavitation bubble. The latter stage required the development of a hydrodynamic code solving compressible Euler equations with heat conduction. The acoustic signal was propagated over distances of a few centimetres to model an experiment aiming at characterizing the acoustic source. The radiation pattern was found to correspond to a highly directive acoustic source. 

Fig. 2 : Left : Simulation results for the propagation in water of a 290 mJ  laser pulse of duration  (a) 0.5 ps
and  (b) 5 ps.. Right: Radiation pattern of the acoustic signal (measurements:
blue curves; numerical simulations in black curves)  for frequencies (a)  0.5 MHz and (b) 2 MHz. [9].

Our compressible hydrodynamic code has also been exploited for investigations of femtosecond laser guided electric discharges in air, in collaboration with M. Clerici (Univ. of Glasgow) and R. Morandotti’s team (INRS, Varennes, Canada). In particular, using Airy beams as a laser pulse guide made it possible to obtain a plasma filament and laser energy deposition of parabolic form, and a parabolic discharge after expansion of the hot column of air.

Fig. 3 Laser guided discharges: (a) A Bessel beam generates a straight plasma channel between the electrodes .
(b) An Airy beam generates a parabolic plasma channel; the discharge avoids the obstacle. (c) The Bessel beam or  
(d) the Airy beam  hit the obstacle but self-heal behind it, allowing the discharge to pass over the obstacle  
(e) Numerical simulation of the  expansion of the hot column of air (in case (c)) and (f) simulation of the path of electrons. [10].

In collaboration with K. Plamann and M.C. Schanne-Klein (LOB), our simulation code was also used in the context of laser cornea surgery, to investigate the propagation of the shock wave generated after laser energy deposition, towards the endothelium [11].

[9] Jukna V, Jarnac A, Milian C, Brelet Y, Carbonnel J, Andre YB, et al. Underwater acoustic wave generation by filamentation of terawatt ultrashort laser pulses. Physical Review E 93, 063106 (2016).

[10] Clerici M, Hu Y, Lassonde P, Milián C, Couairon A, Christodoulides DN, Chen Z., Razzari L., Vidal F., Légaré F., Faccio D., Morandotti R. Laser-assisted guiding of electric discharges around objects. Science Advances 1:e1400111 (2015).

[11] Hussain SA, Milian C, Crotti C, Kowalczuk L, Alahyane F, Essaidi Z, et al. Cell viability and shock wave amplitudes in the endothelium of porcine cornea exposed to ultrashort laser pulses. Graefes Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology. 255, 945-53 (2017).

Generation of THz radiation

With the team of R. Morandatti (INRS, Varennes), we have shown that the generation of terahertz radiation using the so called two-color (fundamental and second harmonic) laser-plasma interaction scheme is 30 times more efficient when using a mid-infrared laser (1800 nm) compared to a near infrared wavelength (800 nm). THz electric fields as high as high (4.4 MV/cm) were predicted by our model, and measured. With the teams of G. Ravindra Kumar (Tata Institute, Mumbai) and S. Tzortzakis (Texas A &M University Qatar), we have demonstrated an unconventional way of generating high-energy, ultra-broadband terahertz pulses by ultrafast laser filamentation in liquids, obtaining a remarkably high conversion efficiency larger than 10−3, Our simulations have shown that the efficient generation of terahertz radiation in liquids is due to a local in-phase generation of a strong second harmonic component as part of the nonlinear spectral broadening of the fundamental laser pulse, followed by a standard two-color laser-plasma interaction scheme.

[12] Dey I, Jana K, Fedorov VY, Koulouklidis AD, Mondal A, Shaikh M, Sarkar D, Lad AD, Tzortzakis S, Couairon A, Ravindra Kumar G, Highly efficient broadband terahertz generation from ultrashort laser filamentation in liquids, Nat. Commun 8, 1184 (2017)

Most significant publications

Couairon, A. Mysyrowicz
Femtosecond filamentation in transparent media.
Physics Reports 441 47 – 189 (2007)

Couairon, E. Brambilla, T. Corti, D. Majus, O. de J. Ramirez-Gongora, and M. Kolesik
Practitioner’s guide to laser pulse propagation models and simulation.
Eur. Phys. J. Special Topics 199, 5–76 (2011)

Point G., Milián C., Couairon A. , Mysyrowicz A., Houard A.
Generation of long-lived underdense channels using femtosecond filamentation in air.
Journal of Physics B - Special Issue 48(9): 094009 (2015)

Milián C., Jukna V., Couairon A. , Houard A. , Forestier B., Carbonnel J., Liu Y. , Prade B., Mysyrowicz A.
Laser beam self-cleaning in air in the multifilamentation regime.
Journal of Physics B - Special Issue 48(9): 094013 (2015)

Couairon, O. G. Kosareva, N. A. Panov, D. E. Shipilo,V. A. Andreeva, V. Jukna, and F. Nesa,
Propagation equation for tight-focusing by a parabolic mirror.
OPTICS EXPRESS 23, 31240 (2015)

C M Heyl, C L Arnold, A Couairon and A L’Huillier,
Introduction to macroscopic power scaling principles for high-order harmonic generation.
J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 50 (2017) 013001

N. S. Shcheblanov, M. E. Povarnitsyn, P. N. Terekhin,S. Guizard, and A. Couairon,
Nonlinear photoionization of transparent solids: A nonperturbative theory obeying selection rules.
PHYSICAL REVIEW A 96, 063410 (2017)

Dubietis, G. Tamošauskas, R. Šuminas, V. Jukna, and A. Couairon,
Lithuanian Journal of Physics, Vol. 57, No. 3, pp. 113–157 (2017)

Jeffrey M. Brown, Arnaud Couairon, and Mette B. Gaarde
Ab initio calculations of the linear and nonlinear susceptibilities of N2, O2, and air in midinfrared laser pulses.
PHYSICAL REVIEW A 97, 063421 (2018)