A "streak tube" is commonly used to obtain intensity vs. spatial or spectral information over time periods of picoseconds to nanoseconds. The advantage of streak tubes is that they provide continuous data (capable of catching a single transient event). They find application in combustion analysis, pulsed-laser characterization, plasma physics, and a variety of spectroscopies where transient events are to be studied.
As shown, the streak tube output is a phosphor screen. This can be optically coupled by a lens or fiberoptic taper to a CCD camera for readout and recording. Typically, a 12- or 14-bit camera is adequate to match the streak tube's dynamic range. A 512 x 512 resolution is sufficient for the majority of applications. Linearity, calibrated response, and low-noise characteristics of Roper Scientific cameras enable accurate measurement of the streak tube's output.
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.