Abstract

A high-contrast optical switch for imaging partially coherent light (∼150 times the diffraction limit) requires that it have a large angular acceptance. We describe the development of a high-speed Pockels cell that uses a thin crystal to simultaneously achieve high-contrast (greater than 1800:1) and large-angular acceptance (greater than 7 mrad for a 5-mm aperture). A KD*P crystal was used in a longitudinal-mode configuration with plasma discharges forming low-resistance, high optical transmission electrodes to couple the switching voltage. Rise times of the switched optical pulse of the order of 500 ps were observed. Characterization of the device in the near and far fields was also performed.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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