Farewell and Welcome!Chris Milne leaves for the European XFEL, Camila Bacellar takes over
SY-GAIA expedition - measures aerosols in the North-Atlantic
Synergy grants for MUST-AssociatesSylvie Roke (EPFL) and Gebhard Schertler (PSI/ETH).
Promotion to Associate Professor of Photonicscongratulations to Rachel Grange!
First light in the SwissFEL Maloja endstation- on track for first experiments in 2021
New scientific highlights- by MUST PIs Chergui, Milne, Wörner, Vaníček and Röthlisberger
New scientific highlights- from MUST researchers at PSI

Jean-Pierre Wolf

February 2012

Jean‐Pierre Wolf was awarded a prestigious ERC (European Research Council) Advanced Grant for his work on high field‐matter interactions and in particular laser filamentation. Filaments arise from the non‐linear propagation of high‐power lasers through transparent media. They consist of self‐sustained light strings of typical 100 μm diameter and hundreds of meters length in air, bear very high intensities (1013‐1014 W/cm2) and are electrically conductive through molecular ionization. The filamentation process in air was considered until recently as resulting from the dynamic balance between the optical Kerr effect and defocusing by the self‐generated plasma. J.P. Wolf and his group recently discovered that filaments can be governed by negative higher‐order Kerr effect (HOKE), which opened both basic physical questions about the stabilization mechanism and new opportunities to optimize the envisioned applications to lightning triggering and cloud condensation.The project, called “FilAtmo”, aims at coherently controlling the electron trajectories and tailoring the HOKE inversion, and consequently at controlling the filamentation process itself. Optimal pulse shapes will then be sought by adaptive (closed loop) techniques to maximize the plasma density and lifetime in filaments for lightning control applications. Similar coherent control approaches will be performed for optimizing the complex photochemistry that leads to water condensation in the atmosphere.

Transition from Plasma‐Driven to Kerr‐Driven Laser Filamentation, Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 243902 (2011)
Laser‐induced Water Condensation in Air, Nature Photonics 4, 451 ‐ 456 (2010) Field Measurements Suggest Mechanism of Laser‐Assisted Water Condensation, Nature Comm. 2, 456 (2011)

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