A very simple self-referenced, linear pulse-characterization technique based on spectral phase reconstruction by frequency-domain signal differentiation is introduced. This technique can be implemented using electro-optic intensity modulation of the pulse under test with a synchronized RF sinusoid. The pulse spectral phase profile can be accurately and unambiguously reconstructed from only two measured energy spectra, i.e., at the input and at the output of the modulator, using a direct analytic equation. The method is experimentally demonstrated by precisely characterizing microwatt-power picosecond pulses after linear dispersion through short sections of conventional single-mode fiber.
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