The Impact of Aerosols and Battlefield Obscurants on Ultrashort Laser Pulse Propagation

Report No. ARL-TR-5834
Authors: Chase A. Munson; Anthony R. Valenzuela
Date/Pages: December 2011; 34 pages
Abstract: Ultrashort pulsed laser propagation through the atmosphere has been studied by both theory and simulation and through laboratory experiments. At sufficiently high pulse energies (on the order of several gigawatts), propagating laser pulses become subject to various nonlinear optical effects, and optical phenomena known as laser filaments are produced. Applying ultrashort laser pulses and laser filaments in the battlefield environment requires a solid physical and theoretical understanding of how these pulses and filaments propagate through the air and interact with battlefield obscurants, such as diesel exhaust, smokes, and dust. Existing open literature on the topic has investigated only the impact of well-defined, aqueous aerosols on ultrashort laser pulses and filaments. In this report, we review the existing works on the topic, discuss where more fundamental scientific understanding is needed, and outline some of the challenges that need to be addressed to utilize the potential of ultrashort laser pulses on the battlefield.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: December 1, 2011