We present a holographic recording technique with 150 femtosecond time resolution. This technique allows us to capture either a single hologram with fine spatial resolution (4 micrometers), or a time-sequence of multiple holograms with reduced spatial resolution in a single-shot experiment, while preserving amplitude and phase information. The time resolution and the frame rate are limited only by the duration of the laser pulses. The holograms are recorded on a CCD camera and digitally reconstructed. We have used the technique to study the nonlinear propagation of high energy femtosecond pulses through liquids. We have observed dramatic differences in the pulse propagation characteristics depending on the strength of the nonlinear coefficient of the material and it's time response. The fine spatial resolution allows us to zoom in and visualize the spatial profile of the pulses breaking up into multiple filaments while the phase recovered from the holograms helps us identify the nonlinear index changes in the material. We have measured both positive and negative index changes. Very fast positive index changes are generally attributable to the Kerr nonlinearity. The negative index changes can be caused by electron plasma generated by multiphoton absorption.
Additional Information© 2005 Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). This work was supported by the Engineering Research Centers Program of the National Science Foundation under award EEC-9402726 and the Center for Optofluidic Integration funded by the Defense Advance Research Projects Agengy (DARPA).
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