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Phase-stable Two-dimensional Spectroscopy

22.07.2009
Optical spectroscopy in general can be used to analyze structures on an atomic level. Coherent two-dimensional (2D) spectroscopy yields information about the temporal evolution and coupling in the molecules under investigation. The idea is analogous to 2D nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) which is a standard technique for analyzing molecular structures. Optical 2D spectroscopy, however, can achieve a much higher temporal resolution on the order of femtoseconds (10-15 fs) and is sensitive to the coupling of larger molecular units or colour centres (chromophores) of supramolecular structures.

The challenge to realize such spectrometers lies in the necessary relative phase-stability of the applied laser pulses. The invention uses a rather simple and cost-effective principle and design for a coherent 2D spectrometer. High phase-stability of the laser beams is inherently reached using only conventional beam splitters and mirrors, and avoiding diffractive optics, pulse shapers or phase-locking loops. This setup of the spectrometer can be constructed for a broad range of wavelengths, ranging from infrared to visible and even ultraviolet light. Especially the unrestricted utilization of visible light and light of shorter wavelengths, which is possible with this invention, will be important, as many biological systems, organic photovoltaic cells or quantum dots have absorption spectra in this wavelength range.

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