Reliable and repeatable characterization of optical streak cameras

Charest, Michael R.; Torres, Peter; Silbernagel, Christopher T.; Kalantar, Daniel H.
October 2008
Review of Scientific Instruments;Oct2008, Vol. 79 Issue 10, p10F546
Academic Journal
Optical streak cameras are used as primary diagnostics for a wide range of physics and laser experiments at facilities such as the National Ignition Facility. To meet the strict accuracy requirements needed for these experiments, the systematic nonlinearities of the streak cameras (attributed to nonlinearities in the optical and electrical components that make up the streak camera system) must be characterized. In some cases the characterization information is used as a guide to help determine how experiment data should be taken. In other cases, the characterization data are applied to the raw data images to correct for the nonlinearities. In order to characterize an optical streak camera, a specific set of data is collected, where the response to defined inputs are recorded. A set of analysis software routines has been developed to extract information such as spatial resolution, dynamic range, and temporal resolution from this data set. The routines are highly automated, requiring very little user input and thus provide very reliable and repeatable results that are not subject to interpretation. An emphasis on quality control has been placed on these routines due to the high importance of the camera characterization information.


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