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The saturation threshold of a probe pulse in an ultrafast electronic-resonance-enhanced (ERE) coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy (CARS) configuration is calculated. We demonstrate that while the underdamping condition is a sufficient condition for saturation of ERE-CARS with the long-pulse excitations, a transient gain must be achieved to saturate the ERE-CARS signal for the ultrafast probe regime. We identify that the area under the probe pulse can be used as a definitive parameter to determine the criterion for a saturation threshold for ultrafast ERE-CARS. From a simplified analytical solution and a detailed numerical calculation based on density-matrix equations, the saturation threshold of ERE-CARS is compared for a wide range of probe-pulse durations from the 10-ns to the 10-fs regime. The theory explains both qualitatively and quantitatively the saturation thresholds of resonant transitions and also gives a predictive capability for other pulse duration regimes. The presented criterion for the saturation threshold will be useful in establishing the design parameters for ultrafast ERE-CARS.



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