We propose a low-background and sensitive coherent Raman imaging technique that uses selective excitation of Raman levels with chirped pulses from a single femtosecond laser. The proposed scheme uses spectral interferometric detection to obtain the real and imaginary parts of χ
(3) simultaneously. We combine three advantages desirable for microscopy namely, use of a single femtosecond laser, suppression of non-resonant background, and measurement of complex resonant Raman χ
©2005 Optical Society of America
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