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Electronic Variable Optical Attenuators, Voltage Controlled & PM Fiber Coupled
Electronic VOA, FC/APC
Typical Transmission as a Function of Applied Voltage
PANDA PM Fiber Cross Section
Click to Enlarge
A female BNC connector is located on one end of the barrel, and PM fiber leads with FC/APC connectors are integrated into the opposite end. Each barrel is engraved with the shown information for convenience.
Thorlabs' Fiber-Coupled Electronic Variable Optical Attenuators (VOAs) are microelectromechanical system (MEMS) based devices that provide attenuation up to >30 dB or >25 dB, depending on the model, and a polarization extinction ratio (PER) of >13 dB. They use PANDA polarization-maintaining (PM) fiber with 2.0 mm narrow key FC/APC connectors with the key aligned to the slow axis of the fiber. Driving voltages of 0 to 5 V control optical transmission, which decreases with applied voltage. These high-speed VOAs support modulation up to 1 kHz. Protection diodes integrated into the design limit the input voltage to protect the VOA from ESD, as well as from other over-voltage and under-voltage events.
A plot of the typical relationship between the applied voltage and the optical transmission for each electronic VOA model is included in the Specs tab. Most voltage sources, including power supplies, function generators, and digital-to-analog converters (DACs), can be used to control these electronic VOAs. Use a BNC cable (not included) to connect the electronic VOA to the voltage source. The MEMS VOA is an electrostatic device that inherently requires no current. However, the protection circuitry can draw up to 100 µA for applied voltages of 5 V.
Either of the unit's 0.5 m long fiber leads can be used as the input, as performance is similar in both directions. However, you may find that one of the connectors provides a lower loss connection in your set-up due to the random nature of core alignment. As shown in the image to the right, the barrel of each electronic VOA is etched, for convenience, with information such as the operating wavelength range, maximum optical input power, maximum modulation bandwidth, and driving voltage range. These VOAs are designed for use with polarization-maintaining optical fiber that is single mode within the operating range. Please see the Specs tab for information on the polarization-maintaining fiber integrated into each model.
We also offer non-polarization maintaining single mode fiber versions of these electronic VOAs for system integration with either FC/PC or FC/APC connectors.
Click to Enlarge
Typical Optical Transmission as a Function of Applied Voltage
(Test Wavelengths: 520 nm for V450PA; 635 nm for V600PA;
850 nm for V800PA; 1060 nm for V1000PA;
and 1550 nm for V1550PA)
Click to Enlarge
The supply current required to drive the electronic VOA over the
0 to 5 V operating range is plotted above.
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Mechanical Drawing of the Fiber-Coupled VOA Package
Janis Valdmanis, Ph.D. Optics
Custom and OEM Options
When your application requirements are not met by our range of catalog products or their variety of user-configurable features, please contact me to discuss how we may serve your custom or OEM needs.
Request a Demo Unit
Explore the benefits of using a Thorlabs high-speed instrument in your setup and under your test conditions with a demo unit. Contact me for details.
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The MX40B Digital Reference Transmitter
Design, Manufacturing, and Testing Capabilities
Thorlabs' Ultrafast Optoelectronics Team designs, develops, and manufactures high-speed components and instrumentation for a variety of photonics applications having frequency responses up to 70 GHz. Our extensive experience in high-speed photonics is supported by core expertise in RF/microwave design, optics, fiber optics, optomechanical design, and mixed-signal electronics. As a division of Thorlabs, a company with deep vertical integration and a portfolio of over 20,000 products, we are able to provide and support a wide selection of equipment and continually expand our offerings.
Our catalog and custom products include a range of integrated fiber-optic transmitters, modulator drivers and controllers, detectors, receivers, pulsed lasers, variable optical attenuators, and a variety of accessories. Beyond these products, we welcome opportunities to design and produce custom and OEM products that fall within our range of capabilities and expertise. Some of our key capabilities are:
Overview of Custom and Catalog Products
Our catalog product line includes a range of integrated fiber-optic transmitters, modulator drivers and controllers, detectors, pulsed lasers, and accessories. In addition to these, we offer related items, such as receivers and customized catalog products. The following sections give an overview of our spectrum of custom and catalog products, from fully integrated instruments to component-level modules.
To meet a range of requirements, our fiber-optic instruments span a variety of integration levels. Each complete transmitter includes a tunable laser, a modulator with driver amplifier and bias controller, full control of optical output power, and an intuitive touchscreen interface. The tunable lasers, modulator drivers, and modulator bias controllers are also available separately. These instruments have full remote control capability and can be addressed using serial commands sent from a PC.
Customization options include internal laser sources, operating wavelength ranges, optical fiber types, and amplifier types.
Our component-level, custom and catalog fiber-optic products take advantage of our module design and hermetic sealing capability. Products include detectors with frequency responses up to 50 GHz, and we also specialize in developing fiber-optic receivers, operating up to and beyond 40 GHz, for instrumentation markets. Closely related products include our amplifier modules, which we offer upon request, variable optical attenuators, microwave cables, and cable accessories.
Customization options include single mode and multimode optical fiber options, where applicable, and detectors optimized for time or frequency domain operation.
Our free-space instruments include detectors with frequency responses around 1 GHz and pulsed lasers. Our pulsed lasers generate variable-width, nanosecond-duration pulses, and a range of models with different wavelengths and optical output powers are offered. User-adjustable repetition rates and trigger in/out signals provide additional flexibility, and electronic delay-line products enable experimental synchronization of multiple lasers. We can also adapt our pulsed laser catalog offerings to provide gain-switching capability for the generation of pulses in the 100 ps range.
Customization options for the pulsed lasers include emission wavelength, optical output powers, and sub-nanosecond pulse widths.