Abstract

We present a practical spatial-domain interferometer for characterizing the electronic density gradient of laser-induced plasma mirrors with sub-30-femtosecond temporal resolution. Time-resolved spatial imaging of an intensity-shaped pulse reflecting off an expanding plasma mirror induced by a time-delayed pre-pulse allows us to measure characteristic plasma gradients of 10–100 nm with an expansion velocity of 10.8 nm/ps. Spatial-domain interferometry (SDI) can be generalized to the ultrafast imaging of nm to μm size laser-induced phenomena at surfaces.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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