Numerous studies have investigated the prerequisite role of photoionization in ultrafast laser-induced damage (LID) of bulk dielectrics. This study examines the role of spectral width and instantaneous laser frequency in LID using a frequency dependent multiphoton ionization (MPI) model and numerical simulation of initially 800 nm laser pulses propagating through fused silica. Assuming a band gap of 9 eV, MPI by an 800 nm field is a six-photon process, but when the instantaneous wavelength is greater than 827 nm an additional photon is required for photoionization, reducing the probability of the event by many orders of magnitude. Simulation results suggest that this frequency dependence can significantly impact the onset of LID and ultrashort pulse filamentation in solids.
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