What is it about?

The streak camera is a spectrometer that can measure the ultrafast response of a sample to light. To achieve acceptable signal-to-noise ratios in streak camera measurements it is often necessary to use high laser powers, which for instance can damage the sample. To avoid the need of high laser powers, we have invented the propagation synchronous integration (PSI) scheme for streak camera's that increases their sensitivity by a factor of ten. In the PSI scheme the propagation speed of the laser through the sample is ingeniously employed to cancel the time response of the instrument. This allows probing a larger sample area and results in faster sampling. In the paper we provide a demonstration of the performance of the PSI approach on a practical example.

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Why is it important?

The invention makes it feasible to measure the ultrafast responses to light of several challenging samples. An example for these samples would be living phototsynthetic cyanobacteria. These organisms are not used to high light intensities, which makes measuring them with lasers particularly difficult. Using the PSI approach it will be possible to unveil how these cyanobacteria use light energy to grow.

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This page is a summary of: Tenfold sensitivity increase in streak camera detection by propagation synchronous integration without compromising time resolution, Review of Scientific Instruments, February 2024, American Institute of Physics,
DOI: 10.1063/5.0185730.
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