Rapid precision interferometry for the analytical ultracentrifuge: I. A laser controller based on a phase-lock-loop circuit


This is the first of a series of manuscripts presenting methods to enable rapid reduction of data from the Rayleigh interference optical system of the Beckman Model E analytical ultracentrifuge. Here we present a pulsed laser controller for the ultracentrifuge. This laser controller uses a phase-lock-loop to provide properly timed light pulses over the speed range of 3000 to 60,000 rpm; it effectively resolves one rotor revolution into 4096 discrete angular positions. The circuit has been designed so that the laser light bursts occur at selectable angular positions of the rotor that are independent of rotor speed even under conditions of maximum acceleration or deceleration. We have used this controller in our laboratory over a 7-year period for both photographic and real-time collection at interferometric data from the ultracentrifuge.


Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences

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Analytical Biochemistry



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