We present here the construction and application of a compact benchtop time-resolved Kerr magnetometer to measure the magnetization precession in magnetic thin films and lithographically patterned elements. As opposed to very expensive femtosecond lasers this system is built upon a picosecond pulsed injection diode laser and electronic pulse and delay generators. The precession is triggered by the electronic pulses of controlled duration and shape, which is launched onto the sample by a microstrip line. We used polarized optical pulses synchronous to the electronic pulses to measure the magneto-optical Kerr rotation. The system is integrated in a conventional upright microscope configuration with separate illumination, imaging, and magneto-optical probe paths. The system offers high stability, relative ease of alignment, sample changing, and a long range of time delay. We demonstrate the measurements of time-resolved dynamics of a Permalloy microwire and microdot using this system, which showed dynamics at two different time scales.

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