The energy scaling up of pulse postcompression is still an open issue. In this work we analyze the use of astigmatic focusing to improve the output pulses in a filamentation based postcompression setup. Unlike spherical conditions, astigmatic focusing enhances the output energy and the spectral broadening of the filament. This is due to the increase of critical power, allowing a considerable improvement of the postcompression energy and stability in a simple way. We demonstrated compression from FWHM 100 fs, 10nm, 3 mJ input pulses to 13 fs, 142nm, near 1 mJ pulses.
© 2011 Optical Society of America