A pulsed laser illumination system for streak camera recording of impact-induced shock wave transit times (∼1 μs) during impact experiments is described. Laser illumination of centimeter-sized subjects offers many advantages over diffuse illumination techniques for streak photography. Source-to-sample and sample-to-camera distances of ∼100 to 102 m can be employed. Light filtering, and simultaneous recording of both the impact event and the camera streak rate calibration, can be carried out easily. For use in such a system we describe a Pockels cell controller in which the reference 10-MHz oscillator signal is synchronously divided down to 38 Hz to provide a trigger signal for laser and streak camera testing.
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