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Phase-sensitive pump-probe measurement of the complex nonlinear susceptibility of silicon across the direct band edge

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posted on 2024-06-01, 16:00 authored by C. D. Cruz, J. C. Stephenson, J. K. Wahlstrand
Pump-probe supercontinuum (SC) spectral interferometry in reflection is used to measure time-dependent variations in the complex dielectric function ($n$, $k$) over the visible wavelength range in bulk silicon. Changes in $n$ ($\Delta n$) due to a near infrared pump pulse are derived from transient fluctuations in the reflected SC probe amplitude, as is measured in conventional pump-probe experiments. Additionally, modifications to $k$ ($\Delta k$) are derived from phase shifts in the reflected SC. The ultrafast response is attributed to two-photon absorption ($\Delta k$) and the optical Kerr effect ($\Delta n$), enabling measurement of effective two-photon ($\beta$) and Kerr ($n_2$) coefficients. The onset of strong two-photon absorption as the two-photon energy is tuned through the $E_1$ = 3.4 eV direct band edge of silicon is observed for the first time to our knowledge. These constitute the first measurements of the complex nonlinear response of a bulk medium from reflectivity alone. The technique allows straightforward spectroscopic measurements of the $\chi^{(3)}$ nonlinear response at the surface of absorbing materials.

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