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Measuring everything you’ve always wanted to know about an ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask). Rick Trebino, Pablo Gabolde, Pam Bowlan, and Selcuk Akturk. Georgia Tech School of Physics Atlanta, GA 30332.

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Measuring everything you’ve always wanted to know about an ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask)

Rick Trebino, Pablo Gabolde, Pam Bowlan, and Selcuk Akturk

Georgia Tech

School of Physics

Atlanta, GA 30332

This work is funded by the NSF, Swamp Optics, and the Georgia Research Alliance.


We desire the ultrashort laser pulse s intensity and phase vs time or frequency
We desire the ultrashort laser pulse’s ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask) intensity and phase vs. time or frequency.

Light has the time-domain spatio-temporal electric field:

Intensity

Phase

(neglecting the

negative-frequency

component)

Equivalently, vs. frequency:

Spectral

Spectrum

Phase

Knowledge of the intensity and phase or the spectrum and spectralphaseis sufficient to determine the pulse.


Frequency-Resolved Optical Gating (FROG) ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask)

FROG is simply a spectrally resolved autocorrelation.

This version uses SHG autocorrelation.

Pulse to be measured

Beam

splitter

Camera

E(t–t)

SHG

crystal

Spec-

trometer

E(t)

Esig(t,t)= E(t)E(t-t)

Variable delay, t

FROG uniquely determines the pulse intensity and phase vs. time for nearly all pulses. Its algorithm is fast (20 pps) and reliable.


Shg frog traces for various pulses
SHG FROG traces for various pulses ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask)

Cubic-spectral-phase pulse

Self-phase-modulated pulse

Double pulse

Intensity

Frequency

Time

Frequency

Frequency

Delay

Delay

SHG FROG traces are symmetrical, so it has an ambiguity in the direction of time, but it’s easily removed.


Frog easily measures very complex pulses

SHG FROG trace with 1% additive noise ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask)

FROG easily measures very complex pulses

Occasionally, a few initial guesses are necessary, but we’ve never found a pulse FROG couldn’t retrieve.

Red = correct pulse;Blue = retrieved pulse


Frog measurements of a 4 5 fs pulse
FROG Measurements of a 4.5-fs Pulse! ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask)

Baltuska,

Pshenichnikov,

and Weirsma,

J. Quant. Electron.,

35, 459 (1999).

FROG is now even used to measure attosecond pulses.


Grating eliminated no nonsense observation of ultrafast incident laser light e fields grenouille
GRating-Eliminated No-nonsense Observation ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask) of Ultrafast Incident Laser Light E-fields(GRENOUILLE)

FROG

2 key innovations: Asingle optic that replaces the entiredelay line,

and a thickSHG crystal that replaces both the thin crystal andspectrometer.

GRENOUILLE

P. O’Shea, M. Kimmel, X. Gu, and R. Trebino, Opt. Lett. 2001.


The fresnel biprism

Pulse #1 ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask)

Here, pulse #1 arrives

earlier than pulse #2

x

Here, the pulses

arrive simultaneously

Here, pulse #1 arrives

later than pulse #2

Pulse #2

The Fresnel biprism

Crossing beams at a large angle maps delay onto transverse position.

Input pulse

t = t(x)

Fresnel biprism

Even better, this design is amazingly compact and easy to use, and it never misaligns!


The thick crystal
The thick crystal ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask)

Very thin crystal creates broad SH spectrum in all directions.

Standard autocorrelators and FROGs use such crystals.

Thin crystal creates narrower SH spectrum in

a given direction and so can’t be used

for autocorrelators or FROGs.

Thick crystal begins to

separate colors.

Thin

SHG

crystal

Thick

SHG crystal

Very thick crystal acts like

a spectrometer! Replace the crystal and

spectrometer in FROG with a very thick crystal.

Very

thick crystal

Suppose white light with a large divergence angle impinges on an SHG crystal. The SH wavelength generated depends on the angle. And the angular width of the SH beam created varies inversely with the crystal thickness.

Very

Thin

SHG

crystal


Testing grenouille

GRENOUILLE ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask)

FROG

Measured

Retrieved

Testing GRENOUILLE

Compare a GRENOUILLE measurement of a pulse with a tried-and-true FROG measurement of the same pulse:

Retrieved pulse in the time and frequency domains


Testing grenouille1

GRENOUILLE ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask)

FROG

Measured

Retrieved

Testing GRENOUILLE

Compare a GRENOUILLE measurement of a complex pulse with a FROG measurement of the same pulse:

Retrieved pulse in the time and frequency domains


Spatio temporal distortions
Spatio-temporal distortions ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask)

Ordinarily, we assume that the electric-field separates into spatial and temporal factors (or their Fourier-domain equivalents):

where the tilde and hat mean Fourier transforms with respect to t and x, y, z.


Angular dispersion is an example of a spatio temporal distortion

x ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask)

z

Angularlydispersed output pulse

Prism

Input pulse

Angular dispersion is an example of a spatio-temporal distortion.

In the presence of angular dispersion, the mean off-axis k-vector component kx0depends on frequency, w.


Another spatio temporal distortion is spatial chirp spatial dispersion

Tilted ultrashort laser pulse (but were afraid to ask) window

Prism pair

Input pulse

Input pulse

Spatially chirped output pulse

Spatially chirped output pulse

Another spatio-temporal distortion is spatial chirp (spatial dispersion).

Prism pairs and simple tilted windows cause spatial chirp.

The mean beam position, x0, depends on frequency, w.


And yet another spatio temporal distortion is pulse front tilt

Angularly dispersed pulse with spatial chirp and pulse-front tilt

Angularly dispersed pulse with spatial chirp and pulse-front tilt

Input pulse

Input pulse

Prism

Grating

And yet another spatio-temporal distortion is pulse-front tilt.

Gratings and prisms cause both spatial chirp and pulse-front tilt.

The mean pulse time, t0, depends on position, x.


Angular dispersion always causes pulse front tilt
Angular dispersion always causes pulse-front tilt! tilt

Angular dispersion:

whereg = dkx0/dw

Inverse Fourier-transforming with respect tokx, ky,andkzyields:

using the shift theorem

Inverse Fourier-transforming with respect tow-w0yields:

using the inverse shift theorem

which is just pulse-front tilt!


The combination of spatial and temporal chirp also causes pulse front tilt
The combination of spatial and temporal chirp also causes pulse-front tilt.

Spatially chirped pulse with pulse-front tilt, but no angular dispersion

Dispersive medium

Spatially chirped input pulse

vg(red) > vg(blue)

The theorem we just proved assumed no spatial chirp, however. So it neglects another contribution to the pulse-front tilt.

The total pulse-front tilt is the sum of that due to dispersion and that due to this effect.

Xun Gu, Selcuk Akturk, and Erik Zeek


General theory of spatio temporal distortions
General theory of spatio-temporal distortions pulse-front tilt.

To understand the lowest-order spatio-temporal distortions, assume a complex Gaussian with a cross term, and Fourier-transform to the various domains, recalling that complex Gaussians transform to complex Gaussians:

Grad students: Xun Gu and Selcuk Akturk

Pulse-front tilt

Spatial chirp

dropping the x subscript on the k

Angular dispersion

Time vs. angle


The imaginary parts of the pulse distortions spatio temporal phase distortions

x pulse-front tilt.

z

The imaginary parts of the pulse distortions: spatio-temporalphase distortions

The imaginary part of Qxt yields: wave-front rotation.

Wave-propagation direction

The electric field vs. x and z.

Red = +Black = -


The imaginary parts of the pulse distortions spatio temporal phase distortions1

x pulse-front tilt.

z

The imaginary parts of the pulse distortions: spatio-temporalphase distortions

The imaginary part ofRxw is wave-front-tilt dispersion.

w1

Plots of the electric field vs. x and z for different colors.

w2

w3

There are eight lowest-order spatio-temporal distortions, but only two independent ones.


The prism pulse compressor is notorious for introducing spatio temporal distortions
The prism pulse compressor is pulse-front tilt.notorious for introducing spatio-temporal distortions.

Wavelength tuning

Wavelength tuning

Prism

Prism

Prism

Prism

Fine GDD tuning

Wavelength tuning

Wavelength tuning

Coarse GDD tuning (change distance between prisms)

Even slight misalignment causes all eight spatio-temporal distortions!


The two prism pulse compressor is better but still a big problem
The two-prism pulse compressor is pulse-front tilt.better, but still a bigproblem.

Coarse GDD tuning

Wavelength tuning

Roof mirror

Periscope

Prism

Prism

Fine GDD tuning

Wavelength tuning


Grenouille measures spatial chirp

Signal pulse frequency pulse-front tilt.















2w+dw

Frequency

2wdw

Tilt in the otherwise symmetrical SHG FROG trace indicates spatial chirp!

Delay

-t0

+t0

Fresnel biprism

GRENOUILLE measures spatial chirp.



SHG

crystal

Spatially chirped pulse

-t0



+t0




Grenouille accurately measures spatial chirp
GRENOUILLE accurately measures spatial chirp. pulse-front tilt.

Measurements confirm GRENOUILLE’s ability to measure spatial chirp.

Positive spatial chirp

Spatio-spectral plot slope (nm/mm)

Negative spatial chirp


Grenouille measures pulse front tilt

Zero relative delay is off to side of the crystal pulse-front tilt.

Zero relative delay is in the crystal center

Frequency

An off-center trace indicates the pulse front tilt!

0

Delay

GRENOUILLE measures pulse-front tilt.

Fresnel biprism

Tilted pulse front

SHG

crystal

Untilted pulse front


Grenouille accurately measures pulse front tilt
GRENOUILLE accurately measures pulse-front tilt. pulse-front tilt.

Varying the incidence angle of the 4th prism in a pulse-compressor allows us to generate variable pulse-front tilt.

Negative PFT

Zero PFT

Positive PFT


Focusing an ultrashort pulse can cause complex spatio temporal distortions
Focusing pulse-front tilt. an ultrashort pulse can cause complex spatio-temporal distortions.

In the presence of just some chromatic aberration, simulations predict that a tightly focused ultrashort pulse looks like this:

Intensity vs. x & z (at various times)

Focus

x

z

Propagation direction

Ulrike Fuchs

Increment between images: 20 fs (6 mm).

Measuring only I(t) at a focus is meaningless. We need I(x,y,z,t)!


Also researchers now often use shaped pulses as long as 20 ps with complex intensities and phases
Also, researchers now often use pulse-front tilt.shaped pulses as long as ~20 ps with complex intensities and phases.

Time

So we’ll need to be able measure, not only the intensity, but also the phase, that is, E(x,y,z,t), for even complex focused pulses.

And we’ll also need great spectral resolution for such long pulses.

And the device(s) should be simple and easy to use!


We desire the ultrashort laser pulse s intensity and phase vs space and time or frequency
We desire the ultrashort laser pulse’s pulse-front tilt.intensity and phase vs. space and time or frequency.

Light has the time-domain spatio-temporal electric field:

Intensity

Phase

(neglecting the

negative-frequency

component)

Equivalently, vs. frequency:

Spectral

Spectrum

Phase

Knowledge of the intensity and phase or the spectrum and spectralphaseis sufficient to determine the pulse.


Strategy
Strategy pulse-front tilt.

Measure a spatially uniform (unfocused) pulse in time first.

GRENOUILLE

Then use it to help measure the more difficult one with a separate measurement device.

STRIPED FISH

SEA TADPOLE


Spectral interferometry
Spectral Interferometry pulse-front tilt.

Measure the spectrum of the sum of a known and unknown pulse.

Retrieve the unknown pulse E(w) from the cross term.

~

1/T

T

Eunk

Eref

Frequency

Eref

Eunk

Spectrometer

Camera

Beam splitter

With a known reference pulse, this technique is known as TADPOLE (Temporal Analysis by Dispersing a Pair Of Light E-fields).


Retrieving the pulse in tadpole

w pulse-front tilt.0

w0

Frequency

Frequency

Retrieving the pulse in TADPOLE

The “DC” term

contains only

spectra

The “AC” terms

contain phase information

Interference fringes

in the spectrum

FFT

“Time”

0

Filter

out these

two peaks

Filter

&

Shift

Spectrum

The spectral phase difference is the phase of the result.

IFFT

Keep this one.

“Time”

0

This retrieval algorithm is quick, direct, and reliable.

It uniquely yields the pulse.

Fittinghoff, et al., Opt. Lett. 21, 884 (1996).


Si is very sensitive

FROG’s sensitivity: pulse-front tilt.

TADPOLE ‘s sensitivity:

1 zeptojoule = 10-21 J

SI is very sensitive!

1 microjoule = 10-6 J

1 nanojoule = 10-9 J

1 picojoule = 10-12 J

1 femtojoule = 10-15 J

1 attojoule = 10-18 J

TADPOLE has measured a pulse train with only 42 zeptojoules (42 x 10-21 J) per pulse.


Spectral interferometry does not have the problems that plague spider

~ 100 pulse-front tilt.tp

~ wp /100

< tp

> 10wp

wp = pulse bandwidth; tp = pulse length

Spectral Interferometry does not have the problems that plague SPIDER.

Recently* it was shown that a variation on SI, called SPIDER, cannot accurately measure the chirp (or the pulse length).

SPIDER’s cross-term cosine:

Linear chirp (djunk/dww) and wT are both linear in w and so look the same. Worse, wT dominates, so T must be calibrated—and maintained—to six digits!

Desired quantity

This is very different from standard SI’s cross-term cosine:

The linear term of junk is just the delay, T, anyway!

*J.R. Birge, R. Ell, and F.X. Kärtner, Opt. Lett., 2006. 31(13): p. 2063-5.


Examples of ideal spider traces
Examples of ideal SPIDER traces pulse-front tilt.

Even if the separation, T, were known precisely, SPIDER cannot measure pulses accurately.

These two pulses are very different but have very similar SPIDER traces.

Intensity (%)


More ideal spider traces
More ideal SPIDER traces pulse-front tilt.

Unless the pulses are vastly different, their SPIDER traces are about the same.

Practical issues, like noise, make the traces even more indisting-uishable.

Intensity (%)


Spectral interferometry experimental issues
Spectral Interferometry: Experimental Issues pulse-front tilt.

The interferometer is difficult to work with.

Mode-matching is important—or the fringes wash out.

Phase stability is crucial—or the fringes wash out.

Unknown

Spectrometer

Beams must be perfectly collinear—or the fringes wash out.

To resolve the spectral fringes, SI requires at least five times the spectrometer resolution.


Sea tadpole
SEA TADPOLE pulse-front tilt.

Camera

x

Cylindrical lens

Spatially Encoded Arrangement (SEA)

SEA TADPOLE usesspatial, instead of spectral, fringes.

l

Reference pulse

Fibers

Grating

Grad student: Pam Bowlan

Unknown pulse

Spherical lens

SEA TADPOLE has all the advantages of TADPOLE—and none of the problems. And it has some unexpected nice surprises!


Why is sea tadpole a better design
Why is SEA TADPOLE a better design? pulse-front tilt.

Fibers maintain alignment.

Our retrieval algorithm is single shot, so phase stability isn’t essential.

Single mode fibers assure mode-matching.

Collinearity is not only unnecessary; it’s not allowed.

And the crossing angle is irrelevant; it’s okay if it varies.

And any and all distortions due to the fibers cancel out!


We retrieve the pulse using spatial fringes not spectral fringes with near zero delay
We retrieve the pulse using pulse-front tilt.spatial fringes, not spectral fringes, with near-zero delay.

The beams cross, so the relative delay, T, varies with position, x.

1D Fourier Transform from x to k

The delay is ~ zero, so this uses the full available spectral resolution!


Sea tadpole theoretical traces
SEA TADPOLE theoretical traces pulse-front tilt.

(mm)

(mm)


More sea tadpole theoretical traces
More SEA TADPOLE theoretical traces pulse-front tilt.

(mm)

(mm)


Sea tadpole measurements

-8 -6 pulse-front tilt.

6 8

SEA TADPOLE measurements

SEA TADPOLE has enough spectral resolution to measure a 14-ps double pulse.


An even more complex pulse
An even more complex pulse… pulse-front tilt.

An etalon inside a Michelson interferometer yields a double train of pulses, and SEA TADPOLE can measure it, too.


Sea tadpole achieves spectral super resolution
SEA TADPOLE achieves spectral pulse-front tilt.super-resolution!

Blocking the reference beam yields an independent measurement of the spectrum using the same spectrometer.

The SEA TADPOLE cross term is essentially the unknown-pulse complex electric field. This goes negative and so may not broaden under convolution with the spectrometer point-spread function.


Sea tadpole spectral super resolution
SEA TADPOLE spectral super-resolution pulse-front tilt.

When the unknown pulse is much more complicated than the reference pulse, the interference term becomes:

Sine waves are eigenfunctions of the convolution operator.


Scanning sea tadpole e x y z t
Scanning SEA TADPOLE: E(x,y,z,t) pulse-front tilt.

By scanning the input end of the unknown-pulse fiber, we can measure E(w) at different positions yielding E(x,y,z,ω).

So we can measure focusing pulses!


E x y z t for a theoretically perfectly focused pulse
E pulse-front tilt.(x,y,z,t) for a theoretically perfectly focused pulse.

E(x,z,t)

Simulation

Pulse Fronts

Color is the instantaneous frequency vs. x and t.

Uniform color indicates a lack of phase distortions.


Measuring e x y z t for a focused pulse
Measuring pulse-front tilt.E(x,y,z,t) for a focused pulse.

Aspheric PMMA lens with chromatic (but no spherical) aberration and GDD.

f = 50 mmNA = 0.03

Measurement

810 nm

Simulation

790 nm


Spherical and chromatic aberration
Spherical and chromatic aberration pulse-front tilt.

Singlet BK-7 plano-convex lens with spherical and chromatic aberration and GDD.

f = 50 mmNA = 0.03

Measurement

Simulation

810 nm

790 nm


A znse lens with chromatic aberration
A ZnSe lens with chromatic aberration pulse-front tilt.

Singlet ZnSe lens with massive chromatic aberration (GDD was canceled).

Measurement

804 nm

Simulation

796 nm


Sea tadpole measurements of a pulse focusing
SEA TADPOLE measurements of a pulse focusing pulse-front tilt.

804 nm

796 nm

A ZnSe lens with lots of chromatic aberration.

Lens GDD was canceled out in this measurement, to better show the effect of chromatic aberration.


Distortions are more pronounced for a tighter focus
Distortions are more pronounced for a tighter pulse-front tilt.focus.

Experiment

Singlet BK-7 plano-convex lens with a shorter focal length.

f = 25 mmNA = 0.06

814 nm

Simulation

787 nm


Sea tadpole measurements of a pulse focusing1
SEA TADPOLE measurements of a pulse focusing pulse-front tilt.

814 nm

787 nm

A BK-7 lens with some chromatic and spherical aberration and GDD.

f = 25 mm.


Focusing a pulse with spatial chirp and pulse front tilt
Focusing a pulse with spatial chirp and pulse- pulse-front tilt.front tilt.

Experiment

Aspheric PMMA lens.

f = 50 mmNA = 0.03

812 nm

Simulation

790 nm


Single shot measurement of e x y z t multiple holograms on a single camera frame striped fish
Single-shot pulse-front tilt. measurement of E(x,y,z,t). Multiple holograms on a single camera frame: STRIPED FISH

Array of spectrally-resolved holograms

Spatially and

Temporally

Resolved

Intensity and

Phase

Evaluation

Device:

Full

Information from a

Single

Hologram

Grad student: Pablo Gabolde


Holography

Spatially uniform, monochromatic reference beam pulse-front tilt.

Unknown beam

Camera

Object

Holography

Measure the integrated intensity I(x,y) of the sum of known and unknown monochromatic beams.

Extract the unknown monochromatic field E(x,y) from the cross term.


Frequency synthesis holography for complete spatio temporal pulse measurement
Frequency-Synthesis Holography for complete spatio-temporal pulse measurement

Performing holography with a monochromatic beam yields the full spatial intensity and phase at the beam’s frequency (w0):

Performing holography using a well-characterized ultrashort pulse and measuring a series of holograms, one for each frequency component, yields the full pulse in the space-frequency domain.

E(x,y,t) then acts as the initial condition in Maxwell’s equations, yielding the full spatio-temporal pulse field: E(x,y,z,t). This approach is called “Fourier-Synthesis Holography.”


Striped fish
STRIPED FISH pulse measurement


The 2d diffraction grating creates many replicas of the input beams
The 2D diffraction grating creates many replicas of the input beams.

Glass substrate

Chrome pattern

Unknown

Reference

50 μm

Using the 2D grating in reflection at Brewster’s angle removes the strong zero-order reflected spot.



Striped fish retrieval algorithm

Intensity holograms

and phase

vs. (x,y,λ)

Complex image

STRIPED FISH Retrieval algorithm



Measurements of the spectral phase
Measurements of the spectral phase holograms

Group delay

Group-delay dispersion


Reconstruction procedure

IFFT holograms

Reconstruction procedure

Takeda et al, JOSA B 72, 156-160 (1982).

FFT

2-D Fourier transform of H(x,y)

Intensity of the entire pulse (spatial reference)

2-D digital hologramH(x,y)

Reconstructed intensity I(x,y) at λ = 830 nm

CCD camera

Reconstructed phaseφ(x,y) at λ = 830 nm

λ = 782 nm

λ = 806 nm

λ = 830 nm

Spatially-chirped input pulse


Results for a pulse with spatial chirp

x holograms

y

Contours indicate beam profile

Results for a pulse with spatial chirp

Reconstructed intensity for a few wavelengths

λ = 782 nm λ = 806 nm λ = 830 nm

Reconstructed phase at the same wavelengths

λ = 782 nm λ = 806 nm λ = 830 nm

(wrapped phase plots)


The spatial fringes depend on the spectral phase
The spatial fringes depend on the spectral phase! holograms

Zero delay

With GD

(b)

(a)


A pulse with temporal chirp spatial chirp and pulse front tilt

797 nm holograms

y= 4.5 mrad

y = 11.3 mrad

775 nm

803 nm

x [mm]

t [fs]

x [mm]

t [fs]

777 nm

A pulse with temporal chirp, spatial chirp, and pulse-front tilt.

Suppressing the y-dependence, we can plot such a pulse:

where the pulse-front tilt angle is:


Complete electric field reconstruction
Complete electric field reconstruction holograms

Pulse with horizontal spatial chirp


Complete 3d profile of a pulse with temporal chirp spatial chirp and pulse front tilt
Complete 3D profile of a pulse with temporal chirp, spatial chirp, and pulse-front tilt

797 nm

775 nm

Dotted white lines: contour plot of the intensity at a given time.


The space time bandwidth product

y chirp, and pulse-front tilt

t

x

The Space-Time-Bandwidth Product

How complex a pulse can STRIPED FISH measure?

After numerical reconstruction, we obtain data “cubes” E(x,y,t) that are

~ [200 by 100 pixels] by 50 holograms.

Space-Bandwidth

Product (SBP)

Time-Bandwidth

Product (TBP)

Space-Time-Bandwidth

Product (STBP)

=

STRIPED FISH can measure pulses with STBP ~ 106 ~ the number of camera pixels.

SEA TADPOLE can do even better (depends on the details)!


Single prism pulse compressor is spatio temporal distortion free

Corner cube chirp, and pulse-front tilt

Periscope

Prism

GDD tuning

Roof mirror

Wavelength tuning

Single-prism pulse compressor is spatio-temporal-distortion-free!


Beam magnification is always one
Beam magnification is always one. chirp, and pulse-front tilt

din

dout


The total dispersion is always zero
The total dispersion is always zero. chirp, and pulse-front tilt

The dispersion depends on the direction through the prism.


A zoo of techniques
A zoo of techniques! chirp, and pulse-front tilt

GRENOUILLE easily measures E(t) (and spatial chirp and pulse-front tilt).

SEA TADPOLE measures E(x,y,z,t) of focused and complex pulses (multi-shot).

STRIPED FISH measures E(x,y,z,t) of a complex (unfo-cused) pulse on a single shot.


To learn more visit our web sites
To learn more, visit our web sites… chirp, and pulse-front tilt

www.physics.gatech.edu/frog

www.swampoptics.com

You can have a copy of this talk if you like. Just let me know!

And if you read only one ultrashort-pulse-measurement book this year, make it this one!


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