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We consider the theoretical description of intense laser pulses propagating through gases. Starting from a first-principles description of both the electromagnetic field and the electron motion within the gas atoms, we derive a hierarchy of reduced models. We obtain a parallel set of models, where the atomic electrons are treated classically on the one hand, and quantum-mechanically on the other. By working consistently in either a Lagrangian formulation or a Hamiltonian formulation, we ensure that our reduced models preserve the variational structure of the parent models. Taking advantage of the Hamiltonian formulation, we deduce a number of conserved quantities of the reduced models.

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Annals of Physics

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