If a spatially nonuniform carrier distribution is optically excited in an electrically biased semiconductor, complicated carrier motion can be expected due to temporal and spatial variations of the screened electric field. We present an experimental method that allows one to quantify the drift velocity of carrier ensembles versus time in time-dependent electric fields. The method is based on the analysis of spatially resolved photoluminescence images at different times, recorded with a streak camera. With this technique, we have studied the details of carrier sweep out in photoconductive switches.

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