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Schriever, Christian, Lochbrunner, Stefan, Riedle, Eberhard ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2672-5718 and Nesbitt, D. J. (January 2008): Ultrasensitive ultraviolet-visible 20 fs absorption spectroscopy of low vapor pressure molecules in the gas phase. In: Review of Scientific Instruments, Vol. 79, No. 1

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We describe an ultrasensitive pump-probe spectrometer for transient absorption measurements in the gas phase and in solution. The tunable UV pump and the visible (450-740 nm) probe pulses are generated by two independently tunable noncollinear optical parametric amplifiers, providing a temporal resolution of 20 fs. A homebuilt low gain photodetector is used to accommodate strong probe pulses with a shot noise significantly lower than the overall measurement noise. A matched digitizing scheme for single shot analysis of the light pulses at kilohertz repetition rates that minimizes the electronic noise contributions to the transient absorption signal is developed. The data processing scheme is optimized to yield best suppression of the laser excess noise and thereby transient absorbance changes down to 1.1x10(-6) can be resolved. A collinear focusing geometry optimized for a 50 mm interaction length combined with a heatable gas cell allows us to perform measurements on substances with low vapor pressures, e.g., on medium sized molecules which are crystalline at room temperature. As an application example highlighting the capability of this instrument, we present the direct time-domain observation of the ultrafast excited state intramolecular proton transfer of 2-(2'-hydroxyphenyl)benzothiazole in the gas phase. We are able to compare the resulting dynamics in the gas phase and in solution with a temporal precision of better than 5 fs. (C) 2008 American Institute of Physics.

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