Journal of Undergraduate Research


phase matching, laser generated harmonics, laser light


Physical and Mathematical Sciences


Physics and Astronomy


In this mentored research project, we investigated how intense laser light is scattered by samples of gas. In particular, we measured light scattered in non-phase-matched directions perpendicular to the laser beam.

According to classical phase matching, the intensity of light scattered from a sample depends on whether the sample is best approximated as a continuous medium or a collection of discrete emitters (Figure 1). In the former case, as the angle between the phase-matching direction and the radiated harmonic approaches π/2 radians, the intensity of that radiated harmonic light approaches 0. In the latter case, the light intensity reaches a minimum value near π/2 and remains at that intensity. In addition, the intensity of the radiated harmonic from the array of discrete emitters (such as gas molecules), should vary linearly with the number of atoms stimulated by the laser (Figure 2).

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