In this letter we demonstrate the possibility to determine the temporal and spectral structure (spectrogram) of a complex light pulse exploiting the ultrafast switching character of a nonthermal photoinduced phase transition. As a proof, we use a VO2 multifilm, undergoing an ultrafast insulator-to-metal phase transition when excited by femtosecond near-infrared laser pulses. The abrupt variation in the multifilm optical properties, over a broad infrared/visible frequency range, is exploited to determine, in situ and in a simple way, the spectrogram of a supercontinuum pulse produced by a photonic crystal fiber. The determination of the structure of the pulse is mandatory to develop pump-probe experiments with frequency resolution over a broad spectral range (700-1100 nm).
- optical switch
- vanadium dioxide