Publications associated with Symmetry violations, QED, laser spectroscopy

Note: A high-performance, low-cost laser shutter using a piezoelectric cantilever actuator.

The Review of scientific instruments 88 (2017) 016102-

W Bowden, IR Hill, PEG Baird, P Gill

We report the design and characterization of an optical shutter based on a piezoelectric cantilever. Compared to conventional electro-magnetic shutters, the device has intrinsically low power and is acoustically quiet. The cantilever position is controlled by a high-voltage op-amp circuit for easy tuning of the range of travel, and mechanical slew rate, which enables a factor of 30 reduction in mechanical noise compared to a rapidly switched device. We achieve shuttering rise and fall times of 11 μs, corresponding to mechanical slew rates of 1.3 ms-1, with a timing jitter of less than 1 μs. When used to create optical pulses, we achieve minimum pulse durations of 250 μs. The reliability of the shutter was investigated by operating continuously for one week at 10 Hz switching rate. After this period, neither the shutter delay or actuation speed had changed by a measurable amount.

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