Molecular quantum wakes for clearing fog

M. C. Schroeder, I. Larkin, T. Produit, E. W. Rosenthal, H. Milchberg and J.-P. Wolf, “Molecular quantum wakes for clearing fog”, Optics Express 28, 11463 (2020)

High intensity laser filamentation in air has recently demonstrated that, through plasma generation and its associated shockwave, fog can be cleared around the beam, leaving an optically transparent path to transmit light. However, for practical applications like free-space optical communication (FSO), channels of multi-centimeter diameters over kilometer ranges are required, which is extremely challenging for a plasma based method. Here we report a radically different approach, based on quantum control. We demonstrate that fog clearing can also be achieved by producing molecular quantum wakes in air, and that neither plasma generation nor filamentation are required. The effect is clearly associated with the rephasing time of the rotational wave packet in N2.Pump excitation provided in the form of resonant trains of 8 pulses separated by the revival time are able to transmit optical data through fog with initial extinction as much as −6 dB.

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