Applied Physics B

, Volume 76, Issue 5, pp 531–540 | Cite as

Poincaré representation of polarization-shaped femtosecond laser pulses

  • T. Brixner


The usage of Poincaré phase space for the representation of polarization-shaped femtosecond laser pulses is discussed. In these types of light fields the polarization state (i.e. ellipticity and orientation) changes as a function of time within a single laser pulse. Such deliberate variation can be achieved by frequency-domain femtosecond pulse shaping in which two polarization components are manipulated individually. Here it is shown how these light pulses can be represented as temporal trajectories through the ellipticity-orientation (Poincaré) phase space, whereas conventional light (either continuous-wave or pulsed) is determined by only one specific Poincaré location. General properties of parametric Poincaré trajectories are discussed, and their relation to experimentally accessible pulse-manipulation parameters (i.e. amplitudes and phases) determined. Specifically, it is shown how the maximum rate by which a given polarization state can be turned into a different one (at significant intensity levels) is limited by the spectral laser bandwidth. Apart from their direct usage in polarization-shaped pulse representation, Poincaré trajectories also form the basis for intuitive quasi-three-dimensional renderings of the electric field profile. There, the temporal evolution of polarization, intensity, and chirp is directly apparent in a single illustration.

PACS: 42.25.Ja; 42.65.Re; 42.79.Hp 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Brixner
    • 1
  1. 1.Physikalisches Institut, Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, GermanyDE

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