A systematic experimental study is performed to examine the technique for sweeping the carrier-envelope phase (CEP) of few-cycle laser pulses by changing the amount of positive dispersion in the extracavity beam path. Slightly changing the dispersion not only changes the CEP but affects the entire spectral-phase function. As a result, large discrepancies are found between the true CEP as independently measured with a stereo-above-threshold- ionization spectrometer and the CEP detected by an interferometer when sweeping the phase with glass wedges. A new CEP-stabilization scheme is proposed and experimentally shown to significantly improve the performance of CEP sweeping.
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