Coherent artifact in modern pulse measurements

Opt Lett. 2012 Jul 15;37(14):2874-6. doi: 10.1364/OL.37.002874.


We simulate multishot intensity-and-phase measurements of unstable trains of complex ultrashort pulses using second-harmonic-generation (SHG) frequency-resolved optical gating (FROG) and spectral-phase interferometry for direct electric-field reconstruction (SPIDER). Both techniques fail to see the pulse structure. But FROG yields the correct average pulse duration and suggests the instability by exhibiting significant disagreement between measured and retrieved traces. SPIDER retrieves the correct average spectral phase but significantly underestimates the average pulse duration. In short, SPIDER measures only the coherent artifact. An analytical calculation confirms this last fact.