Femtosecond Pump-Probe System

Femtosecond pump-probe is a technique used to study the ultra-fast dynamics (200fs or so) that take place upon optical excitation of a molecule.  The three basic components to a pump probe system, the optical components, the detection system and the control and data acquisition software.  Since no of the self pump-probe system exist, they usually have to put together in-house, and this task as been the better part of my dissertation work so far.  I created this page to give anyone interested a general overview our pump-probe system.

pump-probe components

Here is a basic optical layout of our system. In our case the femtosecond light source is provided by a Spectra Physics Spitfire system coupled to an OPA.

pump-probe optical layout

Image showing the jumble of optics and the optical paths of the pump and probe pulses as the propagate through the sample.

pump-probe pulses

The dual channel SD2000 fiber optic spectrometer from Ocean Optics.


The low volume flow-cell system using a cheap glow fuel (methanol based) pump.  It works well, but be carefull of the solvent used.

flow cell

Here is another innovative sample cell design, and for obvious reasons we call it a rotation cell.  It is used for low volume or solid samples.

Rotation Cell