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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 49, Iss. 28 — Oct. 1, 2010
  • pp: 5391–5398

Measuring small absorptions by exploiting photothermal self-phase modulation

Nico Lastzka, Jessica Steinlechner, Sebastian Steinlechner, and Roman Schnabel  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 49, Issue 28, pp. 5391-5398 (2010)

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We present a method for the measurement of small optical absorption coefficients. The method exploits the deformation of cavity Airy peaks that occur if the cavity contains an absorbing material with a nonzero thermorefractive coefficient d n / d T or a nonzero expansion coefficient a th . Light absorption leads to a local temperature change and to an intensity-dependent phase shift, i.e., to a photothermal self-phase modulation. The absorption coefficient is derived from a comparison of time-resolved measurements with a numerical time-domain simulation applying a Markov-chain Monte Carlo algorithm. We apply our method to the absorption coefficient of lithium niobate doped with 7 mol . % magnesium oxide and derive a value of α LN = ( 5.9 ± 0.9 ) × 10 4 / cm . Our method should also apply to materials with much lower absorption coefficients. Based on our modeling, we estimate that, with cavity finesse values of the order of 10 4 , absorption coefficients of as low as 10 8 / cm can be measured.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(120.0120) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology
(120.5060) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Phase modulation
(120.6810) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Thermal effects

ToC Category:
Instrumentation, Measurement, and Metrology

Original Manuscript: May 25, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: August 9, 2010
Published: September 27, 2010

Nico Lastzka, Jessica Steinlechner, Sebastian Steinlechner, and Roman Schnabel, "Measuring small absorptions by exploiting photothermal self-phase modulation," Appl. Opt. 49, 5391-5398 (2010)

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