Ultrashort optical pulse characterization
Thesis (MSc (Physics))--University of Stellenbosch, 2008.
Various autocorrelation techniques are employed to characterize ultrashort laser pulses in both the temporal and spectral domain. These techniques are; interference autocorrelation (IAC), modified spectrum autointerferometric correlation (MOSAIC), background-free autocorrelation (BFA) and frequency resolved optical gating (FROG). All of these techniques are based on the interaction of a pulse with a time delayed copy of itself within a Â(2) medium. Experimental setups for BFA and FROG experiments are developed, which exploit the phenomenon of second harmonic generation (SHG). An existing IAC setup is used for temporal pulse characterization. MOSAIC results are obtained through applying a specific Fourier filter to the IAC data. IAC and MOSAIC measurements performed on a commercially available femtosecond laser, indicate that the emitted pulse has a pulse duration less than 150 fs and possesses positive linear chirp. BFA and FROG measurements carried out on the same laser system mirror these results. Pulses emitted by a 20 Hz chirped pulse amplifier are characterized through BFA and FROG. BFA results suggest that the pulse from the amplifier is actually a double pulse. FROG results indicate that the pulse is highly chirped. The experiments and physical interpretations presented in this work demonstrate the preferred methods of optical pulse characterization for ultrashort laser pulses.