We present a new technique for mapping surface electric fields. We have developed a noninvasive electro-optic imaging system which allows us to obtain a 2-D map of the electric field between metallic contacts on semiconductor photoconductive switches or between metallic contacts on any dielectric surface. The 2-D map is obtained in real time, i.e., all at once, without point or line scanning. Essentially, a snapshot of the field is taken. The system can take a series of snapshots at various times so that the temporal evolution of the electric field between the contacts can be monitored on a picosecond time scale.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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