In experiments with short-pulse lasers the measurement control of the energy of the laser pulse is of crucial importance. Generally it is difficult to measure the amplitude of the pulses of short-pulse lasers using electronic devices, their response time being longer than the duration of the laser pulses. The electric response of the detector is still too fast to be directly digitized therefore a peak-hold unit can be used to allow data processing for the computer. In this paper we present a device which measures the energy of UV short (fs) pulses shot-byshot, digitizes and sends the data to the PC across an USB interface. The circuit is based on an analog peak detect and hold unit and the use of fiber optical coupling between the PC and the device provides a significant improvement to eliminate potential ground loops and to reduce conductive and radiated noise as well. The full development is open source and has been made available to download from our web page (http://www.noise.inf.u-szeged.hu/Instruments/PeakHold/).
Modern control and measurement systems are equipped with interfaces to operate in local area networks and are typically intended to perform complicated data processing and control algorithms. The authors propose a digital system for rapid prototyping of target application devices. The concept solution separates the processing and control section from the hardware interface and user interface section. Both sections constitute independent ARM-based controllers interconnected via a direct USB link. Popular libraries can be used and low-level procedures developed, which enhances the system’s economic viability. A test unit developed for the purpose of the study was built around a SoC ARM7 microsystem and an off-the-shelf palmtop device. It demonstrated a continuous data stream transfer capability up to 150 kB per second, which was sufficient to monitor the performance of an electricity line.