Extreme case of Faraday effect : magnetic splitting of ultrashort laser pulses in plasmas

Weng, Suming and Zhao, Qian and Sheng, Zhengming and Yu, Wei and Luan, Shixia and Chen, Min and Yu, Lule and Murakami, Masakatsu and Mori, Warren B. and Zhang, Jie (2017) Extreme case of Faraday effect : magnetic splitting of ultrashort laser pulses in plasmas. Optica, 4 (9). pp. 1086-1091. ISSN 1899-7015

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    Abstract

    The Faraday effect due to magnetic-field-induced change in the optical properties takes place in a vast variety of systems from a single atomic layer of graphenes to huge galaxies. To date, it plays a pivot role in many applications such as the manipulation of light, and the probing of magnetic fields and material's properties. Basically this effect causes a polarization rotation of light during its propagation along the magnetic field in a medium. Here, we report an extreme case of the Faraday effect that a linearly polarized ultrashort laser pulse splits in time into two circularly polarized pulses of opposite handedness during its propagation in a highly magnetized plasma. This offers a new degree of freedom to manipulate ultrashort and ultrahigh power laser pulses. Together with technologies of ultra-strong magnetic fields, it may pave the way for novel optical devices, such as magnetized plasma polarizers. Besides, it may offer a powerful means to measure strong magnetic fields in laser-produced plasmas.