Coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy (CARS) is a nonlinear optical wave mixing process that is used in gas-phase systems to determine the energy distribution of the probed species (usually N<sub>2</sub>) and, through a fitting procedure, the temperature giving rise to it. CARS signal strengths are maximized when the phase matching condition is met. Because gases are generally non-dispersive, this phase matching condition can be found geometrically as a function of the crossing angles between the CARS beams and their wavelengths. In addition, perfect phase matching in non-dispersive media occurs automatically for collinear beams. To improve spatial resolution, however, intersecting the laser beams is desirable. Being a third-order process, phase matching for CARS in gases typically requires three input laser beams. This paper discusses and demonstrates the issues of phase matching for CARS when the medium is dispersive, and the ability for CARS phase matching to occur with only two crossed laser beams (one pump and one probe). This two-beam X-CARS in dispersive media can be used as an alignment tool for gas-phase CARS and may be relevant as a simpler diagnostic in high-pressure environments. The paper also discusses the effects of non-ideal phase matching in dispersive and non-dispersive media.
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