Abstract

Dispersion scan is a self-referenced measurement technique for ultrashort pulses. Similar to frequency-resolved optical gating, the dispersion scan technique records the dependence of nonlinearly generated spectra as a function of a parameter. For the two mentioned techniques, these parameters are the delay and the dispersion, respectively. While dispersion scan seems to offer a number of potential advantages over other characterization methods, in particular for measuring few-cycle pulses, retrieval of the spectral phase from the measured traces has so far mostly relied on the Nelder–Mead algorithm, which has a tendency to stagnate in a local minimum and may produce ghost satellites in the retrieval of pulses with complex spectra. We evaluate three different strategies to overcome these retrieval problems, namely, regularization, use of a generalized-projections algorithm, and an evolutionary retrieval algorithm. While all these measures are found to improve the precision and convergence of dispersion scan retrieval, differential evolution is found to provide the best performance, enabling the near-perfect retrieval of the phase of complex supercontinuum pulses, even in the presence of strong detection noise and limited phase-matching bandwidth of the nonlinear process.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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