A new type of supercritical collapse for intense long-wavelength ultrashort laser pulses
The study of nonlinear light-matter interactions was born in the 1960s when the first powerful cw laser sources came online. Soon after, researchers began developing intense pulsed laser sources with durations of only a few femtosecond (fs) (10^(-15) s) capable of delivering Terawatt and even Petawatt powers. Recently interest has shifted from visible and near-infrared sources to long-wavelength-infrared (LWIR) fs-scale pulses. In this talk we introduce a canonical description for such few-cycle pulses in the limit of weak dispersion and relatively strong nonlinear effects. Our model predicts a new type of carrier-wave resolved supercritical collapse, leading to extreme spatiotemporal confinement of the pulse's electric field, and whose dynamics persist in physically-more-complete computational models.