Ultrabroadband pulses exhibit a frequency-dependent mode size owing to the wavelength dependence of free-space diffraction. Additionally, rather complex lateral dependence of the temporal pulse shape has been reported for Kerr-lens mode-locked lasers and broadband amplifier chains and in frequency-domain pulse shapers, for example. We demonstrate an ultrashort-pulse characterization technique that reveals lateral pulse-shape variations by spatially resolved amplitude and phase measurements by use of spectral phase interferometry for direct electric-field reconstruction (SPIDER). Unlike with autocorrelation techniques, with SPIDER we can obtain spatially resolved pulse characterization even after the nonlinear process. Thus, with this method the spectral phase of the pulse can be resolved very rapidly along one lateral beam axis in a single measurement.
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