Normally, femtosecond light pulses that cross at a nonzero angle overlap over only a small region in space. This limitation can be overcome by the use of diffraction orders of a grating. We consider an arrangement in which, on diffraction of a femtosecond pulse by a grating, two beams that correspond to the first-order diffraction maxima are recombined at the image plane by a system of two confocal lenses. In this arrangement the beams overlap over the their full aperture, with the short duration of the pulses being preserved. We demonstrate the use of this setup as a simple autocorrelator and discuss a possible application to time-resolved vibrational spectroscopy.
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