Attosecond transient absorption instrumentation for thin film materials: Phase transitions, heat dissipation, signal stabilization, timing correction, and rapid sample rotation
We present an extreme ultraviolet (XUV) transient absorption apparatus tailored to attosecond and femtosecond measurements on bulk solid-state thin-film samples, specifically when the sample dynamics are sensitive to heating effects. The setup combines methodology for stabilizing sub-femtosecond time-resolution measurements over 48 h and techniques for mitigating heat buildup in temperature-dependent samples. Single-point beam stabilization in pump and probe arms and periodic time-zero reference measurements are described for accurate timing and stabilization. A hollow-shaft motor configuration for rapid sample rotation, raster scanning capability, and additional diagnostics are described for heat mitigation. Heat transfer simulations performed using a finite element analysis allow comparison of sample rotation and traditional raster scanning techniques for 100 Hz pulsed laser measurements on vanadium dioxide, a material that undergoes an insulator-to-metal transition at a modest temperature of 340 K. Experimental results are presented confirming that the vanadium dioxide (VO2) sample cannot cool below its phase transition temperature between laser pulses without rapid rotation, in agreement with the simulations. The findings indicate the stringent conditions required to perform rigorous broadband XUV time-resolved absorption measurements on bulk solid-state samples, particularly those with temperature sensitivity, and elucidate a clear methodology to perform them.