Guiding of relativistic laser pulses by preformed plasma channels
Guiding of relativistically intense (>1018 W/cm2) laser pulses over more than 10 diffraction lengths has been demonstrated using plasma channels formed by hydrodynamic shock. Pulses up to twice the self guiding threshold power were guided without aberration by tuning the guide profile. Transmitted spectra and mode images showed the pulse remained in the channel over the entire length. Experiments varying guided mode power and simulations show a large plasma wavewas driven. Operating just below the trapping threshold produces a dark current free structure suitable for controlled injection.