Transient changes in the complex conductivity of the high-temperature superconductor YBa2Cu3O7 have been measured with optical-pump THz-probe spectroscopy. Artifacts in the conductivity arise when optical excitation induces changes in the material response that occur on a time scale comparable with or faster than the THz pulse width. A model is presented that agrees with experiments and provides insight in distinguishing between artifacts and real features in transient conductivity measurements.
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