Time gate, optical layout, and wavelength effects on ballistic imaging.
ABSTRACT A method to distinguish a hidden object from a perturbing environment is to use an ultrashort femtosecond pulse of light and a time-resolved detection. To separate ballistic light containing information on a hidden object from multiscattered light coming from the surrounding environment that scrambles the signal, an optical Kerr gate can be used. It consists of a carbon disulfide (CS(2)) cell in which birefringence is optically induced. An imaging beam passes through the studied medium while a pump pulse is used to open the gate. The time-delayed scattered light is excluded from measurements by the gate, and the multiple-scattering scrambling effect is reduced. In previous works, the two beams had the same wavelength. We propose a new two-color experimental setup for ballistic imaging in which a second harmonic is generated and used for the image, while the fundamental is used for gate switching. This setup allows one to obtain better resolution by using a spectral filtering to eliminate noise from the pump pulse, instead of a spatial filtering. This new setup is suitable for use in ballistic imaging of dense sprays, multidiffusive, and large enough to show scattered light time delays greater than the gate duration (tau=1.3 ps).