What is a Streak Camera?

Sydor Streak Cameras

Streak cameras are best suited for high-bandwidth recording of optical events. A streak camera is a powerful scientific instrument used to study ultra-fast phenomena. The ROSS family of streak cameras are used to study optical events in the visible spectrum that span single nanoseconds all the way to tens of milliseconds. The streak camera takes a fast optical signal and converts it to a spatial signal that can be read out with a conventional camera. The result is a record of the light intensity along one axis versus time on the other axis.

A simplified explanation of how a streak camera works is broken down below:

  1. Signal is input into system
    Option 1: Offner relay optics (No aberrations introduced)
    Option 2: Spectrometer
    Option 3: Spectrometer coupled through Offner relay optics
  2. Light enters the streak tube
  3. Within the streak tube, the photocathode converts photons into electrons
  4. Slot electrodes/mesh accelerate the electrons towards the phosphor side of the streak tube
  5. Focus electrodes focus the electrons towards the phosphor
  6. A fast voltage ramp is applied to the deflection plates
  7. Deflection plates sweep the electron beam from one side of the phosphor screen to another
  8. Phosphor at the end of the streak tube converts the electrons back into photons
  9. *ROSS 1000 & 2000 Systems ONLY* have an image intensifier which amplifies the signal on the output of the streak tube
  10. Photons from the output of the image intensifier are collected by the readout camera for processing in ROSSApp

Streak cameras play a critical role in physics and the life sciences, fusion research, and within industry. The components as well as systems are delicate and extremely complex to manufacture. Because of these complexities, Sydor is one of the very few worldwide manufacturers of streak cameras, and the leading supplier to critical United States-based and European laboratories.

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