We performed theoretical calculations of the relative diffraction efficiency of partially coherent light-induced integrated-intensity gratings using pulsed sources, paying particular attention to thermal gratings. We provided a simple intuitive picture of the phenomenon and then calculated exact expressions that, unlike instantaneous-intensity-grating results, necessarily require the use of fourth-order coherence functions. Assuming several radiation models, we evaluated these expressions and found that the results proved to be insensitive to the specific radiation model assumed. The application of these results to a previously performed pulsed-laser experiment yielded a better fit to the data than an expression involving only second-order coherence, which is valid only in the cw limit. We included the effects of grating decay and, in addition, compared the use of integrated-intensity gratings for ultrashort-pulse-length measurement with standard techniques. Finally, we calculated expressions for the relative diffraction efficiency of integrated-intensity gratings created with excitation beams from two separate and independent sources of different frequency, and we report an experiment whose results were found to agree with this theory.
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