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Sternbach, A. J.; Hinton, J.; Slusar, T.; Mcleod, A. S.; Liu, M. K.; Frenzel, A.; Wagner, M.; Iraheta, R.; Keilmann, F.; Leitenstorfer, A.; Fogler, M.; Kim, H.-T.; Averitt, R. D. and Basov, D. N. (2017): Artifact free time resolved near-field spectroscopy. In: Optics Express, Vol. 25, No. 23: pp. 28589-28611

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We report on the first implementation of ultrafast near field measurements carried out with the transient pseudoheterodyne detection method (Tr-pHD). This method is well suited for efficient and artifact free pump-probe scattering-type near-field optical microscopy with nanometer scale resolution. The Tr-pHD technique is critically compared to other data acquisition methods and found to offer significant advantages. Experimental evidence for the advantages of Tr-pHD is provided in the near-IR frequency range. Crucial factors involved in achieving proper performance of the Tr-pHD method with pulsed laser sources are analyzed and detailed in this work. We applied this novel method to femtosecond time-resolved and nanometer spatially resolved studies of the photo-induced effects in the insulator-to-metal transition system vanadium dioxide. (c) 2017 Optical Society of America

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