Abstract

A simple spectral focusing scheme for bandwidth optimization of gas-phase rotational coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) spectra is presented. The method is useful when femtosecond pump/Stokes preparation of the Raman coherence is utilized. The approach is of practical utility when working with laser pulses that are not strictly transform limited or when windows or other sources of pulse chirp may be present in the experiment. A delay between the femtosecond preparation pulses is introduced to shift the maximum Raman preparation away from zero frequency and toward the Stokes or anti-Stokes side of the spectrum with no loss in total preparation bandwidth. Shifts of 100cm1 or more are attainable and allow for enhanced detection of high-energy (150300cm1) rotational Raman transitions at near-transform-limited optimum sensitivity. A simple theoretical treatment for the case of identical pump and Stokes pulses with linear frequency chirp is presented. The approach is then demonstrated experimentally for typical levels of transform-limited laser performance obtained in our laboratory with nonresonant CARS in argon and Raman-resonant spectra from a lean H2/air flat flame.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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