Techniques for measuring smali changes in the intensity of a pulsed laser

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Several techniques are described that compensate for the pulse-to-pulse laser fluctuations that occur when small absorption or gain measurements are taken with pulsed lasers. The best approach tested used two matched diodes that were mounted in a bridge circuit with their bias batteries. One diode was illuminated by a single beam, and a second was illuminated by a reference beam. The bridge circuit output forms the difference in the two laser intensities. Using pulsed lasers with 8-ns widths, we observed that the error in subtraction was 0.01% of the pulse area. This was only 1.5 times the shot noise of the pulses. The technique is examined for application to Raman-induced Kerr-efiect spectroscopy, in which difficulties arise because of the use of polarization-sensitive detection. © 1992 Optical Society of America.

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Applied Optics