A holographic technique has been devised for generating a visible display of the effect of exposure of a photorefractive crystal to γ-rays. The technique exploits the space charge that results from trapping of electrons in defects induced by γ-rays.

Figure 1. A Hologram Is Formed in a Crystal to be exposed to γ rays. After exposure to γ rays, the crystal is remounted in this apparatus for reading of the hologram.

The technique involves a three-stage process. In the first stage, one writes a holographic pattern in the crystal by use of the apparatus shown in Figure 1. A laser beam of 532-nm wavelength is collimated and split into signal and reference beams by use of a polarizing beam splitter. On its way to the crystal, the reference beam goes through a two-dimensional optical scanner that contains two pairs of lenses (L1y,L2y and L1x,L2x) and mirrors M1 and M2, which can be rotated by use of micrometer drives to make fine adjustments. The signal beam is sent through a spatial light modulator that imposes the holographic pattern, then through two imaging lenses Limg on its way to the crystal. An aperture is placed at the common focus of lenses Limg to suppress high-order diffraction from the spatial light modulator. The hologram is formed by interference between the signal and reference beams.

Figure 2. This Image Shows the Effect of γ Rays that have passed through a crystal of Fe:LiNbO3.

A camera lens focuses an image of the interior of the crystal onto a chargecoupled device (CCD). If the crystal is illuminated by only the reference beam once the hologram has been formed, then an image of the hologram is formed on the CCD: this phenomenon is exploited to make visible the pattern of γ irradiation of the crystal, as described next.

In the second stage of the process, the crystal is removed from the holographic apparatus and irradiated with γ-rays at a dose of about 100 krad. In the third stage of the process, the crystal is remounted in the holographic apparatus in the same position as in the first stage and illuminated with only the reference beam to obtain the image of the hologram as modified by the effect of the γ-rays. The orientations of M1 and M2 can be adjusted slightly, if necessary, to maximize the intensity of the image. Figure 2 shows such an image that was formed in a crystal of Fe:LiNbO3.

This work was done by Danut Dragoi, Steven McClure, Allan Johnston, and Tien-Hsin Chao of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Physical Sciences category.


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Imaging of y-Irradiated Fegions of a Crystal

(reference NPO30622) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

Don't have an account? Sign up here.

Photonics Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2004 issue of Photonics Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from the archives here.