This tutorial combines a review of recent developments in pulse generation and characterization at wavelengths from 2.5 to 25 µm (0.5 to 0.05 eV) with a discussion of spectroscopic methods for condensed matter research. Different sources of ultrashort mid-infrared pulses are described with the main emphasis on parametric frequency mixing. The state of the art in pulse shaping and phase-resolved pulse characterization in the mid-infrared will be presented and complemented by a discussion of spectroscopic methods, in particular multidimensional spectroscopies. The potential of such methods is illustrated by key applications in ultrafast semiconductor optics and vibrational spectroscopy of liquid systems.
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