Observation of extremely efficient terahertz generation from mid-infrared two-color laser filaments.
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Extreme nonlinear interactions of THz electromagnetic fields with matter are the next frontier in nonlinear optics. However, reaching this frontier in free space is limited by the existing lack of appropriate powerful THz sources. Here, we experimentally demonstrate that two-color filamentation of femtosecond mid-infrared laser pulses at 3.9m allows one to generate ultrashort sub-cycle THz pulses with sub-milijoule energy and THz conversion efficiency of 2.36%, resulting in THz field amplitudes above 100MVcm-1. Our numerical simulations predict that the observed THz yield can be significantly upscaled by further optimizing the experimental setup. Finally, in order to demonstrate the strength of our THz source, we show that the generated THz pulses are powerful enough to induce nonlinear cross-phase modulation in electro-optic crystals. Our work paves the way toward free space extreme nonlinear THz optics using affordable table-top laser systems.