Abstract

An atomic streak camera has been constructed that operates from the near to the far infrared. The photocathode used in conventional streak cameras for the conversion of photons to electrons has been replaced by gas-phase atoms in a Rydberg state. The low binding energy of the electron in a Rydberg atom combined with the large photoionization cross section of a Rydberg atom makes Rydberg atoms suitable for use in an infrared streak camera. Operation of the streak camera is demonstrated at 2.6 µm, well beyond the spectral range of any conventional streak camera.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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