Honeycomb pattern formation by laser-beam filamentation in atomic sodium vapor
Ryan S. Bennink, Vincent Wong, Alberto M. Marino, David L. Aronstein, Robert W. Boyd,
C. R. Stroud, Jr., Svetlana Lukishova, and Daniel J. Gauthier
Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 113901 (2002).
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We have observed transverse pattern formation leading to highly regular structures in both the near and far fields when a near-resonant laser beam propagates without feedback through an atomic sodium vapor. One example is a regular far-field honeycomb pattern, which results from the transformation of the laser beam within the vapor into a stable three-lobed structure with a uniform phase distribution and highly correlated power fluctuations. The predictions of a theoretical model of the filamentation process are in good agreement with these observations.
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