The doping profile in different n-doped GaAs homoepitaxial structures grown by molecular beam epitaxy is investigated in the time domain by employing a laser based picosecond ultrasound technique in a contactless and noninvasive way. Experiments based on asynchronous optical sampling employ two femtosecond lasers, which allow us to detect changes in the optical reflectivity over a 1 ns time delay with a signal-to-noise ratio of 10(exp 7) and 100 fs time resolution in <1 min of acquisition time. We show that the doping profile with doping densities of the order of 10(exp 18) cm-3 can be detected with picosecond ultrasound, although there is no difference in the acoustic properties of the doped and undoped region. The detection mechanism is based on a different sensitivity function for a coherent strain pulse in the doped and undoped regions. These results are corroborated by experiments at room temperature and 10 K.