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An optical modulator is described which utilizes an acoustic shock pulse generated by a spark gap in a stationary or flowing fluid to produce deflection of a light beam.
English (United States)
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Spark Modulator for Light Beams
An optical modulator is described which utilizes an acoustic shock pulse
generated by a spark gap in a stationary or flowing fluid to produce deflection of
a light beam.
An example of such a modulator comprises a spark gap 10 fixed in position
about 2 mm from the focus of light beam 12 which may be from a laser 14, for
example. A high voltage pulse generator 16 is connected so that a high voltage
pulse is produced at desired times across spark gap 10. The resultant spark in
spark gap 10 generates an acoustic shock wave which has a wavefront with a
sharp change in refractive index. As this wavefront crosses the light beam, it
causes a transient deflection of the continuous light beam. By suitably
positioning a knife edge 18 to intercept the undeflected beam, the beam can be
selectively transmitted past the knife edge 18 to a utilization device.
The same principle can be used to produce a beam shaper comprising four
spark sources surrounding the beam symmetrically. The spark sources provide a
quadrupole refractive index gradient for transient beam shaping effects.
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