In experiments with short-pulse lasers the measurement control of the energy of the laser pulse is of crucial importance. Generally it is difficult to measure the amplitude of the pulses of short-pulse lasers using electronic devices, their response time being longer than the duration of the laser pulses. The electric response of the detector is still too fast to be directly digitized therefore a peak-hold unit can be used to allow data processing for the computer. In this paper we present a device which measures the energy of UV short (fs) pulses shot-byshot, digitizes and sends the data to the PC across an USB interface. The circuit is based on an analog peak detect and hold unit and the use of fiber optical coupling between the PC and the device provides a significant improvement to eliminate potential ground loops and to reduce conductive and radiated noise as well. The full development is open source and has been made available to download from our web page (http://www.noise.inf.u-szeged.hu/Instruments/PeakHold/).
An active beam-pointing stabilization system has been developed for a high-power KrF laser system to eliminate the long-term drift of the directional change of the beam in order to have a stable focusing to a high intensity. The control of the beam direction was achieved by a motor-driven mirror activated by an electric signal obtained by monitoring the position of the focus of the output beam. Instead of large sized UV-sensitive position sensitive detectors a simple arrangement with scatter plates and photodiodes are used to measure the directionality of the beam. After the beam stabilization the long-term residual deviation of the laser shots is ~14 μrad, which is comparable to the shot-to-shot variation of the beam (~12 μrad). This deviation is small enough to keep the focal spot size in a micrometer range when tightly focusing the beam using off-axis parabolic mirrors.