Ultrafast science is inherently, due to the lack of fast enough detectors and electronics, based on nonlinear interactions. Typically, however, nonlinear measurements require significant powers and often operate in a limited spectral range. Here we overcome the difficulties of ultraweak ultrafast measurements by precision time-domain localization of spectral components. We utilize this for linear self-referenced characterization of pulse trains having ∼ 1 photon per pulse, a regime in which nonlinear techniques are impractical, at a temporal resolution of ∼ 10 fs. This technique does not only set a new scale of sensitivity in ultrashort pulse characterization, but is also applicable in any spectral range from the near-infrared to the deep UV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics