An embodiment of the invention is directed to a pulse measuring system that measures a characteristic of an input pulse under test, particularly the pulse shape of a single-shot, nano-second duration, high shape-contrast optical or electrical pulse. An exemplary system includes a multi-stage, passive pulse replicator, wherein each successive stage introduces a fixed time delay to the input pulse under test, a repetitively-gated electronic sampling apparatus that acquires the pulse train including an entire waveform of each replica pulse, a processor that temporally aligns the replicated pulses, and an averager that temporally averages the replicated pulses to generate the pulse shape of the pulse under test. An embodiment of the invention is directed to a method for measuring an optical or an electrical pulse shape. The method includes the steps of passively replicating the pulse under test with a known time delay, temporally stacking the pulses, and temporally averaging the stacked pulses. An embodiment of the invention is directed to a method for increasing the dynamic range of a pulse measurement by a repetitively-gated electronic sampling device having a rated dynamic range capability, beyond the rated dynamic range of the sampling device; e.g., enhancing the dynamic range of an oscilloscope. The embodied technique can improve the SNR from about 300:1 to 1000:1. A dynamic range enhancement of four to seven bits may be achieved.
FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH
This invention was made with government support under Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FC52-92SF19460 sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Inertial Confinement Fusion. The government has certain rights in the invention.