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Proceedings Paper

Technique for precision optical timing measurements
Author(s): Kent L. Anderson
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Paper Abstract

High-accuracy absolute timing of optical pulses is usually performed by PMTs, in conjunction with advanced discriminator and time-measurement electronics. This paper presents a new technique that is capable of less than 1.0 psec absolute timing measurements, using Si APDs, with significantly relaxed requirements for the discriminator and timing electronics. An EO modulator is used to modulate the polarization of the optical pulse at a microwave frequency (e.g., 8 GHz), and the two resulting polarization components are detected by the APDs. Relative signal levels at the two polarizations provide a vernier timing measurement with respect to the phase of the microwave modulating signal, and the time ambiguity is resolved by a relatively coarse timing measurement of the detected signals. This technique offers the potential for simpler, lower-cost implementations than PMT and/or streak camera systems, and it is applicable to a wider range of wavelengths, particularly near-IR systems. This paper discusses the general principles and design issues of the technique, and describes a particular design implementation applicable to 2-color lidar ranging.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 January 1993
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 1757, Ultrahigh- and High-Speed Photography, Videography, and Photonics, (19 January 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.139121
Show Author Affiliations
Kent L. Anderson, GE Astro-Space Div. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1757:
Ultrahigh- and High-Speed Photography, Videography, and Photonics
Donald R. Snyder, Editor(s)

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