The relativistic plasma wave excited when the frequency difference between two copropagating CO2 laser beams equals the plasma frequency is detected for the first time. The plasma-wave frequency, wave number, spatial extent, and saturation time are directly measured by use of 7-mrad, collective, ruby Thomson scattering and the forward-scattered ir spectrum. The wave amplitude nn0 is inferred to be (1-3)% which gives a longitudinal electric field of 0.3 to 1 GV/m at a laser intensity of 1.7×1013 W/cm2, in reasonable agreement with theory.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)