Researchers have discovered a new method for faster spectroscopic measurements. They observed changes in the light spectrum by using simple, rapid polarization measurements by linking polarization to the color of a pulsed laser. The technique opens up new possibilities for measuring spectral changes over the complete color spectrum of light on a nanosecond time frame.
Spectroscopic measurements with the new technology consist of a change of wavelength of probe light (color) after interaction with a sample. Examination of these changes offers an opportunity to study the properties of materials at the atomic scale.
The researchers performed a modulation (using a birefringence crystal) in the temporal domain by coherently splitting a femtosecond pulse of a laser into two parts. Each part had a different polarization slightly delayed in time relative to each other. The new technique can find applications in material science research involving fundamental analysis of atoms and molecules and astronomical observations.