We study femtosecond-laser-induced flows of air at a water/air interface, at micrometer length scales. To visualize the flow velocity field, we simultaneously induce two flow fronts using two adjacent laser pump spots. Where the flows meet, a stationary shockwave is produced, the
...

We study femtosecond-laser-induced flows of air at a water/air interface, at micrometer length scales. To visualize the flow velocity field, we simultaneously induce two flow fronts using two adjacent laser pump spots. Where the flows meet, a stationary shockwave is produced, the length of which is a measure of the local flow velocity at a given radial position. By changing the distance between the spots using a spatial light modulator, we map out the flow velocity around the pump spots. We find gas front velocities near the speed of sound in air vs for two laser excitation energies. We find an energy scaling that is inconsistent with the Sedov-Taylor model. Due to the flexibility offered by spatial beam shaping, our method can be applied to study subsonic laser-induced gas flow fronts in more complicated geometries.@en