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A large laser induced increase of light absorption has been observed in free-standing porous silicon films, in the wavelength range 500–700 nm. Thermal origin of the observed modulation is suggested by two hitherto unreported observations: the spectral dependence and the comparison between the time decay of modulation with photoluminescence. A simple thermal model, taking into account the porosity of the porous silicon film, provides a good fit over the probed spectrum. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.