Ultrafast insulator-to-metal phase transition as a switch to measure the spectrogram of a supercontinuum light pulse

Cilento, Federico; Giannetti, Claudio; Ferrini, Gabriele; Dal Conte, Stefano; Sala, Tommaso; Coslovich, Giacomo; Rini, Matteo; Cavalleri, Andrea; Parmigiani, Fulvio
January 2010
Applied Physics Letters;1/11/2010, Vol. 96 Issue 2, p021102
Academic Journal
In this letter we demonstrate the possibility to determine the temporal and spectral structure (spectrogram) of a complex light pulse exploiting the ultrafast switching character of a nonthermal photoinduced phase transition. As a proof, we use a VO2 multifilm, undergoing an ultrafast insulator-to-metal phase transition when excited by femtosecond near-infrared laser pulses. The abrupt variation in the multifilm optical properties, over a broad infrared/visible frequency range, is exploited to determine, in situ and in a simple way, the spectrogram of a supercontinuum pulse produced by a photonic crystal fiber. The determination of the structure of the pulse is mandatory to develop pump-probe experiments with frequency resolution over a broad spectral range (700–1100 nm).


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