Abstract

A new and efficient technique for measuring weak optical nonlinearities is reported. Like Z scan, its implementation is basic, both experimentally and theoretically, but leads to an improved sensitivity of λ/5.104, which represents, to date, one of the highest observed enhancements. With this technique, which is based upon the use of a position sensitive detector, nonlinear properties are deduced by monitoring the barycentric position of a truncated pump–probe laser beam as the sample is moved along the optical axis. The technique is experimentally validated by measuring the pump-induced refractive index change and the underlying polarizability variation resulting from the excitation of the Cr3+ ions in ruby.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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