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Rapid and high precision measurement of opto-thermal relaxation with pump-probe method

Wang, Tao, Liu, Xiao-Fei, Hu, Yunqi, Qin, Guoqing, Ruan, Dong, Long, Gui-Lu
Science bulletin 2018 v.63 pp. 287-292
heat, light transmission, liquids, refractive index, temperature
Opto-thermal relaxation is one of the most important properties of nonlinear optical materials. Rapid and high precision measurement of this parameter is vital in both fundamental research and applications. Current measurement uses either complicated structure with poor precision or high power heating source with low efficiency. Here, we propose a pump-probe method (PPM) to optically measure the thermal relaxation using whispering gallery mode (WGM) microcavities. When the pump laser shines on a microcavity, the materials absorb the input power resonantly and heat up. Then the heat dissipates from the cavities to the surroundings. The opto-thermal effect induces a refractive index change reflected in the signal light transmission spectra. By analyzing the curve character of the transmission spectra of the signal response in the spontaneous relaxation process, the thermal relaxation time can be rapidly measured with high precision. Additionally, we systematically verify the PPM using microtoroids under various pump powers and at various locking points of the signal laser mode. The small rate of refractive index changes (∼10⁻⁸) can be discerned with an input pump power as low as 11.816 μW. Hence, the PPM can be used to detect refractive index perturbation, like gas or liquid sensing, temperature fluctuations with ultra-high sensitivity and be applied to optical materials analysis efficiently.