Southwest Sciences Inc

Electro-Optic Electric Field Probe

U. S. Patent 6,587,258, issued July 1, 2003

Modern electronic components operate at increasingly high speeds. Testing and debugging new designs can be difficult, because traditional methods of probing an electronic circuit change the circuit's properties in a way that becomes hard to ignore at high speeds. This invention by Dan Kane consists of an optical approach for measuring the performance of an electrical circuit that avoids the problems of high speed probes.

The typical use of this invention involves focusing the light pulse from an ultra-fast laser onto the semiconductor material. When an electric field exists in the semiconductor, a small amount of the laser light is converted to a new color that is exactly twice the frequency (and half the wavelength) of the initial pulse. This light is known as the "second harmonic" in analogy to musical notation for a higher tone. If there is no electric field, then by symmetry no frequency doubling takes place. Thus, the electric field causes or induces the generation of the second harmonic of the laser light, giving this probe technique the name "Electric field-induced second harmonic generation," or e-fish.

By mapping the intensity of the e-fish second harmonic signal vs. time for a series of laser pulses and electric fields, a detailed map of the electrical circuit behavior can be determined.


Contact Information

Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco St., Suite E-11, Santa Fe, NM 87505
tel. (505) 984-1322/ fax (505) 988-9230



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