Nonlinear evolutions of an ultra-intense ultra-short laser pulse in a rarefied plasma through a new quasi-static theory
In this paper, we present a new description of self-consistent wake excitation by an intense short laser pulse, based on applying the quasi-static approximation (slow variations of the pulse-envelope) in the instantaneous Lorentz-boosted pulse co-moving frame (PCMF), and best verify our results through comparison with particle-in-cell simulations. According to this theory, the plasma motion can be treated perturbatively in the PCMF due to its high initial-velocity and produces a quasi-static wakefield in this frame. The pulse envelope, on the other hand, is governed by a form of the Schrödinger equation in the PCMF, in which the wakefield acts as an effective potential. In this context, pulse evolutions are characterized by local conservation laws resulted from this equation and subjected to Lorentz transformation into the laboratory frame. Using these conservation laws, precise formulas are obtained for spatiotemporal pulse evolutions and related wakefield variations at initial stages, and new equations are derived for instantaneous group velocity and carrier frequency. In addition, based on properties of the Schrödinger equation, spectral-evolutions of the pulse are described and the emergence of an anomalous dispersion branch with linear relation ω ≈ ck (c is the light speed) is predicted. Our results are carefully discussed versus previous publications and the significance of our approach is described by showing almost all suggestive definitions of group-velocity based on energy arguments fail to reproduce our formula and correctly describe the instantaneous pulse-velocity.