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By Claude Rullière

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When n2 is positive the probe frequency is red-shifted when it leads the pump pulse and blue-shifted when it trails the pump. This is the physical basis of the famous FROG technique used to simultaneously characterize phase and amplitude of short optical pulses (see Chap. 7). In the space domain the probe beam undergoes focusing, or defocusing as well as deflection, depending on the relative geometry of the pump and the probe beams. Fourier transformation allows us to calculate the spectrum which results from the self-phase-modulation process.

The electronic structure of Cr3+ : Al2 O3 consists of bands and discrete states. 3 nm takes place between a discrete state and the ground state. The overall structure is that of a three-level system. Inversion of the electronic population was produced by a broadband, helical flash-tube surrounding the ruby rod and the resonator was simply made from the parallel, polished ends of the rod, which were silver coated for high reflectivity. Very rapidly following Maiman’s achievement, A. 7]. 8 Conclusion In this chapter some laser basics were introduced as a background to the understanding of ultrashort laser pulse generation.

The shortest constructed pulse can only be transform-limited if its spectrum is symmetrical. 12 applies, but for a constant quantity larger than 1/2 which depends on the shape of the pulse. From the experimental point of view, half-maximum quantities are easier to measure; the Fourier inequality is then usually written as ΔνΔt = K, where 32 C. Hirlimann Δν is the frequency full width at half-maximum and Δt the half maximum duration. K is a number which depends on the shape of the pulse. 1 gives values of K for some symmetrical pulse shapes.

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