The thermal diffusivity of a thin organic dye layer deposited atop thin films of the high temperature superconductor YBa2Cu3O7-δ is measured using a pulsed laser flash method. Here, the underlying superconductor acts as a highly sensitive temperature transducer after appropriate conversion of the transient voltage response from 7 ns optical pulses. Film surface temperature decays for several thicknesses of the dye layers were evaluated; these decays exhibited a linear dependence of the time at half temperature maximum versus thickness squared. Three dimensional finite difference modeling was used to study and extract the thermal diffusivity values of the thin organic layers as well as to investigate the transient temperature distributions within the dye and superconductor areas. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.