Measuring Pulse Shape & Duration of Ultrafast Pulses

An autocorrelator is a versatile, easy-to-use diagnostic tool for measuring the pulse shape and duration of ultrafast laser pulses. Autocorrelators are capable of measuring pulse widths from both high repetition rate (MHz) oscillators and low repetition rate (kHz) amplifiers in the visible and IR wavelength range. When phase information of the pulse is not required, autocorrelation is the simplest and most affordable method for determining pulse width

Long scan autocorrelation data collected on a Spectra-Physics Spitfire® Pro amplifier. Contrast ratio better than 7000:1 is demonstrated.

More Versatile than Commercial Autocorrelators

There are several commercially available autocorrelators on the market such as the Spectra-Physics PulseScout2™. They are usually designed to measure pulses from a few femtoseconds to several picoseconds in duration. Very often, however, there is a need in research labs to combine the capabilities of measuring very short pulses in the range of tens of femtoseconds with the capability of measuring long pulses on the order of tens of picoseconds with femtosecond resolutions. A typical example is the stretching of a femtosecond pulse to many picoseconds for experiments where large bandwidths are required or chirped pulse amplification. More than just measuring ultrashort pulses, autocorrelators can be used to detect signals in time regions relatively inaccessible by most detectors.

Spectra-Physics PulseScout2 Autocorrelator System

Reference Software

The software included with this product is for reference only. It has been tested in the experimental setup described in our Long Scan Autocorrelator application note. The software will need to be customized by the user for additional experimental requirements. At the present time, Newport provides limited support for this software and any concern should be discussed with Newport before purchasing the product.

Components Compatible with Spectra-Physics Ultrafast Lasers

All of the components included in this kit have been tested in combination with Spectra-Physics Ultrafast Ti:Sapphire oscillators, amplifiers and optical parametric devices by the Scientists in Newport's Technology and Applications Center. In contrast to commercially available autocorrelators, the Newport long scan autocorrelator kit is suitable for beam diameters up to 10 mm. The dynamic range of the detection system allows contrast measurements up to 7000:1. The kit also includes reference software that can be customized for user's application. Please contact us about special versions of the kit with longer delay (up to ± 160 ps) and/or longer wavelength range if needed.


Applications for the long scan autocorrelator include:

  • Ultrafast Spectroscopy
  • Chirped Pulse Amplification
  • Metrology 

Please see our Long Scan Autocorrelator application note for more information.