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Streak Tube Readout

Streak tube readout is commonly used to obtain intensity vs. spatial or spectral information over time periods of picoseconds to nanoseconds. A huge advantage of streak tubes is that they provide continuous data — and thus are capable of catching single transient events. Streak tubes are utilized for combustion analysis, pulsed-laser characterization, plasma physics, and a variety of spectroscopy applications in which transient events are studied.

Typically, the streak tube output is a phosphor screen on a glass or fiberoptic faceplate. This can be optically coupled to a CCD camera for readout and recording via either a lens or a fiberoptic taper, depending on sensitivity requirements. Often, a 12- or 14-bit camera is adequate to match the streak tube’s dynamic range, but for particularly demanding applications 16-bit cameras with a 1:1 fiberoptic and a back-illuminated CCD are used.

PI’s Picks

To achieve optimal imaging performance for applications involving streak tubes, PI recommends using one of the following state-of-the-art cameras:

The Princeton Instruments Quad-RO provides a compact detector design with an IEEE-1394a data interface, electronically balanced quadrants that yield an extremely uniform raw image, dual readout speeds, four-port / single-port readout options, and on-board memory to guarantee loss-free images.

Our compact PIXIS-XF, meanwhile, utilizes proprietary fiberoptic coupling to preserve the highest spatial resolution, has a flexible design that allows phosphor removal for system optimization, and features a USB 2.0 data interface. Both models are supported under LINUX.

streak tube readout
The streak tube image shows both spectral (top) and spatial (bottom) information. The series of dots in the middle are time fiducial marks generated by an LED pulsed at a known frequency. Image courtesy of Dr. Dennis Paisley, Los Alamos National Laboratories.


X-Ray Camera Brochure
Comprehensive information on direct and indirect X-ray detection technologies from Princeton Instruments. Includes related application and technical notes.

PIXIS-XF Indirect Detection

PIXIS-XF Indirect Detection

Fiber-coupled cameras for 4 keV to >50 keV imaging with up to 2Kx2K pixel resolution


LightField Scientific Imaging & Spectroscopy Software

LightField Scientific Imaging & Spectroscopy Software

Ground breaking software to control your Princeton Instruments systems. Now with Windows 10 support. It's like nothing you have ever experienced!


Princeton Instruments