Published. 2022, 11(1)
Recording electric field evolution in single-shot with THz bandwidth is needed in science including spectroscopy, plasmas, biology, chemistry, Free-Electron Lasers, accelerators, and material inspection. However, the potential application range depends on the possibility to achieve sub-picosecond resolution over a long time window, which is a largely open problem for single-shot techniques. To solve this problem, we present a new conceptual approach for the so-called spectral decoding technique, where a chirped laser pulse interacts with a THz signal in a Pockels crystal, and is analyzed using a grating optical spectrum analyzer. By borrowing mathematical concepts from photonic time stretch theory and radio-frequency communication, we deduce a novel dual-output electro-optic sampling system, for which the input THz signal can be numerically retrieved—with unprecedented resolution—using the so-called phase diversity technique. We show numerically and experimentally that this approach enables the recording of THz waveforms in single-shot over much longer durations and/or higher bandwidth than previous spectral decoding techniques. We present and test the proposed DEOS (Diversity Electro-Optic Sampling) design for recording 1.5 THz bandwidth THz pulses, over 20 ps duration, in single-shot. Then we demonstrate the potential of DEOS in accelerator physics by recording, in two successive shots, the shape of 200 fs RMS relativistic electron bunches at European X-FEL, over 10 ps recording windows. The designs presented here can be used directly for accelerator diagnostics, characterization of THz sources, and single-shot Time-Domain Spectroscopy.