Stimulated Raman scattering driven by intense subpicosecond laser drivers is analyzed, in particular, the effects of the pulse shape and relativity on the instability and its characteristic spectra. The analysis is carried out in the pulse group velocity frame (Lorentz transformed) where growth rates for backscattering are decreased relative to their values when analyzed in the laboratory frame, while forward-scattered growth rates have greatly enhanced values. A range of intensities and densities is considered, appropriate to recent experiments, which ranges from strongly coupled scattering at high densities (even for forwardscattering) to stimulated Compton scattering regimes for backscattering and relativistically trapped forwardscattering at low densities. The inhomogeneities in intensity and density cause mode conversion between waves inside and outside the pulse. This can be at a modest level, as for backscattering, or extreme as in the case of forwardscattering when the Raman scattered light can be trapped within the laser pulse. The consequent feedback between modes within the pulse allows solutions, absolutely growing in the pulse frame, to be found.
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