Self-organized pattern formation in laser-induced multiphoton ionization
We use finite-difference time-domain modeling to investigate plasma generation induced by multiphoton absorption of intense laser light in dielectrics with tiny inhomogeneities. Plasma generation is found to be strongly amplified around nanometer-sized inhomogeneities as present in glasses. Each inhomogeneity acts as the seed of a plasma structure growing against the direction of light propagation. Plasma structures originating from randomly distributed inhomogeneities are found to interact strongly and to organize in regularly spaced planes oriented perpendicularly to the laser polarization. We discuss similarities between our results and nanogratings in fused silica written by laser beams with spatially homogeneous as well as radial and azimuthal polarizations.