Wavefront and frequency characteristics of pulsed lasers are of interest in many applications including laser oscillator design, beam propagation, and atom–field interactions. We have used a frequency-stabilized cw ring dye laser as a local oscillator (frequency jitter <1 MHz) in an optical heterodyne interferometer to characterize a pulsed dye laser with base line pulse widths of 40–80 ns. Streak camera detection of the heterodyne interferogram enabled us to obtain both spatial and temporal information from a single pulse.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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