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Rev Sci Instrum. 2011 Jun;82(6):063101. doi: 10.1063/1.3592332.

Ultra-broadband infrared pump-probe spectroscopy using synchrotron radiation and a tuneable pump.

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Laboratory for Micro and Nanotechnology, Paul Scherrer Institut, CH-5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland.


Synchrotron infrared sources have become popular mainly because of their excellent broadband brilliance, which enables spectroscopically resolved spatial-mapping of stationary objects at the diffraction limit. In this article we focus on an often-neglected further advantage of such sources - their unique time-structure - to bring such broadband spectroscopy to the time domain, for studying dynamic phenomenon down to the 100 ps limit. We describe the ultra-broadband (12.5 to 1.1 μm) Fourier transform pump-probe setup, for condensed matter transmission- and reflection-spectroscopy, installed at the X01DC infrared beam-line of the Swiss Light Source (SLS). The optical pump consists of a widely tuneable 100 ps 1 kHz laser system, covering 94% of the 16 to 1.1 μm range. A thorough description of the system is given, including (i) the vector-modulator providing purely electronic tuning of the pump-probe overlap up to 1 ms with sub-ps time resolution, (ii) the 500 MHz data acquisition system interfaced with the experimental physics and industrial control system (EPICS) based SLS control system for consecutive pulse sampling, and (iii) the step-scan time-slice Fourier transform scheme for simultaneous recording of the dual-channel pumped, un-pumped, and difference spectra. The typical signal/noise ratio of a single interferogram in a 100 ps time slice is 300 (measured during one single 140 s TopUp period). This signal/noise ratio is comparable to that of existing gated Globar pump-probe Fourier transform spectroscopy, but brings up to four orders of magnitude better time resolution. To showcase the utility of broadband pump-probe spectroscopy, we investigate a Ge-on-Si material system similar to that in which optically pumped direct-gap lasing was recently reported. We show that the mid-infrared reflection-spectra can be used to determine the optically injected carrier density, while the mid- and near-infrared transmission-spectra can be used to separate the strong pump-induced absorption and inversion processes present at the direct-gap energy.

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