A system and method is disclosed for optically locating a microchannel position. A laser source generates a primary laser beam which is directed at a microchannel plate. The microchannel plates include microchannels at various locations. A back-reflectance beam detector receives a back-reflected beam from the plate. The back-reflected beam is generated when the primary beam reflects off of the plate. A photodiode circuit generates a trigger signal when the back-reflected beam exceeds a predetermined threshold, indicating a presence of the microchannel. The method of the present invention includes the steps of generating a primary beam, directing the primary beam to a plate containing a microchannel, receiving from the plate a back-reflected beam generated in response to the primary beam, and generating a trigger signal when the back-reflected beam exceeds a predetermined threshold which corresponds to a presence of the microchannel.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.