Helical plasma filaments from the self-channeling of intense femtosecond laser pulses in optical fibers

We experimentally and numerically study the ignition of helical-shaped plasma filaments in standard optical fibers. Femtosecond pulses with megawatt peak power with proper off-axis and tilted coupling in the fiber core produce plasma skew rays. These last for distances as long as 1000 wavelengths thanks to a combination of linear waveguiding and the self-channeling effect. Peculiar is the case of graded-index multimode fibers; here the spatial self-imaging places constraints on the helix pitch. These results may find applications for fabricating fibers with helical-shaped core micro-structuration as well as for designing laser components and three-dimensional optical memories.