Abstract

The ability to generate third-harmonic light with a broad phase-matching bandwidth at any dielectric interface offers a promising tool for the characterization of ultrafast laser pulses. Third-harmonic, interferometric frequency-resolved optical gating (TH-iFROG) exploits this nonlinearity. The TH-iFROG traces contain an abundance of information, but their complicated analytical form poses a problem for standard FROG algorithms. Here we solve the pulse retrieval problem with an evolutionary algorithm known as differential evolution. The algorithm processes a TH-iFROG trace, extracting three novel types of FROG traces that are subsequently used for pulse retrieval. The analytical forms of these FROG traces are also presented. Built-in error correction mechanisms and the large amount of redundant data make the pulse retrieval robust against measurement noise and systematic errors. The technique is demonstrated via the characterization of unamplified few-cycle pulses using a simple fused silica window as the nonlinear medium. Comparison to a reference measurement made with a commercial pulse characterization device shows excellent agreement between the measured complex electric fields.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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