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Nanosecond Pulsed Laser Systems
Adjust beam pointing angle tip and tilt when the laser (NPL52B shown) is mounted on the PY005 five-axis stage.
The drive electronics and temperature stabilization circuits for the laser diode are all integrated into the laser head.
Two ECM225 mounting clamps are included with each NPL Series laser.
Thorlabs' Nanosecond Pulsed Laser Diode Systems are designed to provide a convenient, turn-key source of nanosecond pulse trains at repetition frequencies up to 10 MHz. These compact instruments consist of a laser head, an external +15 V power supply with location-specific plug, and two ECM225 mounting clamps. The drive electronics and temperature stabilization circuits for the laser diode are all integrated into the laser head, as are safety interlocks. A safety shutter can be rotated to cover the optical output port, as shown in the images below. The maximum peak pulse optical output powers vary from 13 mW to 1600 mW, depending on Item #, as specified in the table to the right.
Adjustable and Fixed Pulse Width Options
Lasers with internal triggers (Item #s ending in B) also feature internal oscillators that generate 1, 5, or 10 MHz frequency trigger signals, enabling these systems to produce stable trains of nanosecond laser pulses without an external trigger. The Rep Rate selector on the back panel allows the user to easily choose the desired internal or external trigger setting. Depending on the Rep Rate selector setting, the SMA connector on the back panel outputs a signal synchronized with the internally triggered pulses or accepts the user supplied trigger signal. For additional information, please see the Specs tab and the Back Panels tab.
For fiber-coupled optical output options, we recommend choosing from our selection of coupling packages to accommodate the NPL series' larger beam diameter.
Mounting the Laser Housing
Before attaching the clamps to the laser housing, each clamp must first be screwed to the stage, base, or post. After this is done, loosen the 5/64" (2.0 mm) locking screw in each clamp, insert the laser housing into the clamps, and then tighten the locking screws on both clamps until the laser housing is held securely. Compatible mounting fixtures with tip and tilt (pitch and yaw) adjustment capability, which can be helpful when the application requires tuning laser beam pointing angle, include the PY005 (PY005/M) Five-Axis Stage and the TTR001 (TTR001/M) Tip, Tilt, and Rotation Stage. If desired, ECM175 mounting clamps, available below, can alternatively be used to mount the laser on its side.
Janis Valdmanis, Ph.D. Optics
We Design, Develop, and Manufacture
|Center Wavelength (Typical)||640 ± 10 nm||405 ± 10 nm||450 ± 10 nm||488 ± 10 nm||520 ± 10 nm||640 ± 10 nm||405 ± 10 nm||450 ± 10 nm||520 ± 10 nm||640 ± 10 nm|
|Min, Setting 1a||10 ± 1 nsb||6 ± 1 ns||5 ± 1 ns||6 ± 1 ns||5 ± 1 ns||6 ± 1 ns|
|Max, Setting 16a||38 ± 3 ns||39 ± 3 ns||39 ± 3 ns||39 ± 3 ns||129 ± 5 ns|
|Typical Pulse Width vs.
|Internal Trigger||No||Yes (1, 5, or 10 MHz)||No|
|Max Trigger Frequencyd
||10 MHz||50 kHz|
|Average Power (Max)e
||1.2 mW||15 mW||30 mW||20 mW||12 mW||20 mW||6.4 mW||10.2 mW||9.3 mW||6.3 mW|
|Peak Power (Typical Max)f
||13 mW||38 mW||75 mW||50 mW||30 mW||50 mW||1000 mW||1600 mW||1500 mW||1000 mW|
|Pulse Energy (Typical Max)e
||0.12 nJ||1.50 nJ||3.00 nJ||2.00 nJ||1.20 nJ||2.00 nJ||128 nJ||204 nJ||186 nJ||126 nJ|
|Output Spectrum (Typical)c
|Beam Pointing Accuracyg||≤3°|
|1.5 mrad||0.5 mrad||0.5 mrad||0.8 mrad||1.5 mrad||1.5 mrad||4.9 mrad||2.4 mrad||3.7 mrad||10.2 mrad|
|0.5 mrad||0.3 mrad||0.25 mrad||0.4 mrad||0.5 mrad||0.5 mrad||0.2 mrad||0.14 mrad||0.6 mrad||0.5 mrad|
|Major Axis||5.3 mm||2.5 mm||3.3 mm||2.9 mm||3.2 mm||4.8 mm||21 mm||19.2 mm||16.5 mm||43 mm|
|Minor Axis||2.1 mm||1.7 mm||1.6 mm||1.9 mm||2.0 mm||2.7 mm||1 mm||1.3 mm||1.9 mm||1.2 mm|
|Aspheric Collimating Lens||C340TMD-B||C610TME-A||C340TMD-B||C610TME-A||C610TME-B|
|Output Beam Image (Typical)i||
Click to Enlargej
Click to Enlargek
Click to Enlargek
Click to Enlargek
Click to Enlargek
|Item #s Ending in A or B||10 MHz|
|Item #s Ending in C||50 kHz|
|Input Voltage||200 mVpp to 2 Vpp|
|Input Impedance||5 kΩ|
|Output Voltageb||900 mV (Hi-Z Load)
600 mV (50 Ω Load)
|Max Jitterc||20 ps RMS
100 ps Peak-to-Peak
|Delayd||From External Trigger Input to Optical Output||35 ± 5 ns|
|From Internal Trigger Output to Optical Outputb||28 ± 5 ns|
|DC Input Voltage Range to Laser Head||14 to 16 V|
|DC Input Current to Laser Head (Max)||800 mA|
|AC Input Frequency Range to Power Supply||50 - 60 Hz|
|AC Input Voltage to Power Supply||100 to 240 V|
|Environmental and Physical Specifications|
|Operating Temperature Range||10 to 40 °C|
|Storage Temperature Range||0 to 50 °C|
|Humidity Range (RH)||5 - 85%|
|Trigger Connector on Back Panela||Female SMA|
|Power Connector on Laser Head||Male Mini-XLR Type|
|Maximum Dimensions without ECM225 Clamps||139.6 mm x 61.5 mm x 48.7 mm
(5.49" x 2.42" x 1.92")
|Maximum Dimensions with ECM225 Clamps||139.6 mm x 61.5 mm x 54.7 mm
(5.49" x 2.42" x 2.15")
|A1||Power Key Switch|
|A2||LED Laser Status Indicator, Dual Color (Red/Blue)|
|A3||Male Mini-XLR Connector for the +15 V Power Supply Jack|
|A4||2.5 mm Mono Phono Interlock Jack, Interlock Pin Installed|
|A5||Female SMA Connector for the Trigger In Connector|
|B1||Power Key Switch|
|B2||LED Laser Status Indicator, Dual Color (Red/Blue)|
|B3||Pulse Width Selectora|
|B4||Male Mini-XLR Connector for the +15 V Power Supply Jack|
|B5||2.5 mm Mono Phono Interlock Jack, Interlock Pin Installed|
|B6||Chart of Repetition Rate Options vs. Selector Settings|
|B7||Repetition Rate Selectora|
|B8||Female SMA Connector for the Trigger In/Trigger Out Connector|
|C1||Power Key Switch|
|C2||LED Laser Status Indicator, Dual Color (Red/Blue)|
|C3||Pulse Width Selectora|
|C4||Male Mini-XLR Connector for the +15 V Power Supply Jack|
|C5||2.5 mm Mono Phono Interlock Jack, Interlock Pin Installed|
|C6||Female SMA Connector for the Trigger In Connector|
Systems with Item #s Ending in A
Systems with Item #s Ending in B or C
Safe practices and proper usage of safety equipment should be taken into consideration when operating lasers. The eye is susceptible to injury, even from very low levels of laser light. Thorlabs offers a range of laser safety accessories that can be used to reduce the risk of accidents or injuries. Laser emission in the visible and near infrared spectral ranges has the greatest potential for retinal injury, as the cornea and lens are transparent to those wavelengths, and the lens can focus the laser energy onto the retina.
Lasers are categorized into different classes according to their ability to cause eye and other damage. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a global organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic, and related technologies. The IEC document 60825-1 outlines the safety of laser products. A description of each class of laser is given below:
|1||This class of laser is safe under all conditions of normal use, including use with optical instruments for intrabeam viewing. Lasers in this class do not emit radiation at levels that may cause injury during normal operation, and therefore the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) cannot be exceeded. Class 1 lasers can also include enclosed, high-power lasers where exposure to the radiation is not possible without opening or shutting down the laser.|
|1M||Class 1M lasers are safe except when used in conjunction with optical components such as telescopes and microscopes. Lasers belonging to this class emit large-diameter or divergent beams, and the MPE cannot normally be exceeded unless focusing or imaging optics are used to narrow the beam. However, if the beam is refocused, the hazard may be increased and the class may be changed accordingly.|
|2||Class 2 lasers, which are limited to 1 mW of visible continuous-wave radiation, are safe because the blink reflex will limit the exposure in the eye to 0.25 seconds. This category only applies to visible radiation (400 - 700 nm).|
|2M||Because of the blink reflex, this class of laser is classified as safe as long as the beam is not viewed through optical instruments. This laser class also applies to larger-diameter or diverging laser beams.|
|3R||Lasers in this class are considered safe as long as they are handled with restricted beam viewing. The MPE can be exceeded with this class of laser, however, this presents a low risk level to injury. Visible, continuous-wave lasers are limited to 5 mW of output power in this class.|
|3B||Class 3B lasers are hazardous to the eye if exposed directly. However, diffuse reflections are not harmful. Safe handling of devices in this class includes wearing protective eyewear where direct viewing of the laser beam may occur. In addition, laser safety signs lightboxes should be used with lasers that require a safety interlock so that the laser cannot be used without the safety light turning on. Class-3B lasers must be equipped with a key switch and a safety interlock.|
|4||This class of laser may cause damage to the skin, and also to the eye, even from the viewing of diffuse reflections. These hazards may also apply to indirect or non-specular reflections of the beam, even from apparently matte surfaces. Great care must be taken when handling these lasers. They also represent a fire risk, because they may ignite combustible material. Class 4 lasers must be equipped with a key switch and a safety interlock.|
|All class 2 lasers (and higher) must display, in addition to the corresponding sign above, this triangular warning sign|
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.
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.
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:
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.
Edge-emitting laser diodes emit elliptical beams as a consequence of the rectangular cross sections of their emission apertures. The component of the beam corresponding to the narrower dimension of the aperture has a greater divergence angle than the orthogonal beam component. As one component diverges more rapidly than the other, the beam shape is elliptical rather than circular.
Elliptical beam shapes can be undesirable, as the spot size of the focused beam is larger than if the beam were circular, and as larger spot sizes have lower irradiances (power per area). Techniques for circularizing an elliptical beam include those based on a pair of cylindrical lenses, an anamorphic prism pair, or a spatial filter. This work investigated all three approaches. The characteristics of the circularized beams were evaluated by performing M2 measurements, wavefront measurements, and measuring the transmitted power.
While it was demonstrated that each circularization technique improves the circularity of the elliptical input beam, each technique was shown to provide a different balance of circularization, beam quality, and transmitted power. The results of this work, which are documented in this Lab Fact, indicate that an application's specific requirements will determine which is the best circularization technique to choose.
The experimental setup is shown in Figure 1. The elliptically-shaped, collimated beam of a temperature-stabilized 670 nm laser diode was input to each of our circularization systems shown in Figures 2 through 4. Collimation results in a low-divergence beam, but it does not affect the beam shape. Each system was based on one of the following:
The beam circularization systems, shown to the right, were placed, one at a time, in the vacant spot in the setup highlighted by the yellow rectangle. With this arrangement, it was possible to use the same experimental conditions when evaluating each circularization technique, which allowed the performance of each to be directly compared with the others. This experimental constraint required the use of fixturing that was not optimally compact, as well as the use of an unmounted anamorphic prism pair, instead of a more convenient mounted and pre-aligned anamorphic prism pair.
The characteristics of the beams output by the different circularization systems were evaluated by making measurements using a power meter, a wavefront sensor, and an M2 system. In the image of the experimental setup, all of these systems are shown on the right side of the table for illustrative purposes; they were used one at a time. The power meter was used to determine how much the beam circularization system attenuated the intensity of the input laser beam. The wavefront sensor provided a way to measure the abberations of the output beam. The M2 system measurement describes the resemblence of the output beam to a Gaussian beam. Ideally, the circularization systems would not attenuate or abberate the laser beam, and they would output a perfectly Gaussian beam.
Edge-emitting laser diodes also emit astigmatic beams, and it can be desirable to force the displaced focal points of the orthogonal beam components to overlap. Of the three circularization techniques investigated in this work, only the cylindrical lens pair can also compensate for astigmatism. The displacement between the focal spots of the orthogonal beam components were measured for each circularization technique. In the case of the cylindrical lens pair, their configuration was tuned to minimize the astigmatism in the laser beam. The astigmatism was reported as a normalized quantity.
The experimental results are summarized in the following table, in which the green cells identify the best result in each category. Each circularization approach has its benefits. The best circularization technique for an application is determined by the system’s requirements for beam quality, transmitted optical power, and setup constraints.
Spatial filtering significantly improved the circularity and quality of the beam, but the beam had low transmitted power. The cylindrical lens pair provided a well-circularized beam and balanced circularization and beam quality with transmitted power. In addition, the cylindrical lens pair compensated for much of the beam's astigmatism. The circularity of the beam provided by the anamorphic prism pair compared well to that of the cylindrical lens pair. The beam output from the prisms had better M2 values and less wavefront error than the cylindrical lenses, but the transmitted power was lower.
|Method||Beam Intensity Profile||Circularitya||M2 Values||RMS Wavefront||Transmitted Power||Normalized
|Collimated Source Output
(No Circularization Technique)
Click to Enlarge
Scale in Microns
Y Axis: 1.63
|Cylindrical Lens Pair||
Click to Enlarge
Scale in Microns
|0.84||X Axis: 1.90
Y Axis: 1.93
|Anamorphic Prism Pair
Click to Enlarge
Scale in Microns
|0.82||X Axis: 1.60
Y Axis: 1.46
Click to Enlarge
Scale in Microns
|0.93||X Axis: 1.05
Y Axis: 1.10
Components used in each circularization system were chosen to allow the same experimental setup be used for all experiments. This had the desired effect of allowing the results of all circularization techniques to be directly compared; however, optimizing the setup for a circularization technique could have improved its performance. The mounts used for the collimating lens and the anamorphic prism pair enabled easy manipulation and integration into this experimental system. It is possible that using smaller mounts would improve results by allowing the members of each pair to be more precisely positioned with respect to one another. In addition, using made-to-order cylindrical lenses with customized focal lengths may have improved the results of the cylindrical lens pair circularization system. All results may have been affected by the use of the beam profiler software algorithm to determine the beam radii used in the circularity calculation.
Some information describing selection and configuration procedures for several components used in this experimental work can be accessed by clicking the following hyperlinks:
This 640 nm wavelength pulsed laser system outputs fixed-duration 10 ns pulses in response to a user-supplied trigger input sent to the Trigger In port on the back panel of the laser head (shown to the right). Pulses may be triggered at rates up to 10 MHz. A typical pulse is located in the table below. Please see the Back Panels tab and manual for more information about the back panel features.
The aspheric lens integrated into the laser head is factory set to collimate the optical output. These laser systems include the laser head, a +15 V power supply, and two ECM225 clamps for post mounting the laser head. Please see the Shipping List tab for a complete list of included components.
These nanosecond pulsed laser systems produce adjustable-duration nanosecond pulses in response to a user-supplied trigger input sent to the Trigger In port on the back panel of the laser head. Pulses may be triggered at rates up to 10 MHz. These lasers also incorporate an internal trigger, enabling repetition frequencies of 1, 5 or 10 MHz. The aspheric lens integrated into the laser head is factory set to collimate the optical output.
Pulse widths are adjustable from 5 to 39 ns over 16 discrete settings with approximately equal spacing. The specific pulse width range depends on the Item # as specified in the table below; please see the Specs tab for more information. Plots of typical pulses are also located in the table below. The controls for adjusting the pulse width and repetition rate are located on the back panel, which is shown in the image to the right. The included 2 mm flathead screwdriver can be used to operate these controls.
The Rep Rate selector on the back panel enables the user to either choose among three options for internally triggering the pulses, or to configure the laser to accept a user-supplied external signal to trigger pulse generation. The internal pulse trigger is generated by oscillators in the laser head, and positions A, B, and C on the Rep Rate selector correspond to internally triggered repetition frequencies of 1, 5, and 10 MHz, respectively. When pulses are internally triggered, the Trigger IN/OUT port provides an output signal that is synchronized with the pulse generation. Alternatively, when the Rep Rate selector is set to position D, pulses are generated in response to an external trigger signal applied to the Trigger IN/OUT port. With this option, pulses may be triggered at rates up to 10 MHz. Please see the Back Panels tab and manual for more information about the features on the back panel.
These laser systems include the laser head, a +15 V power supply, a 2 mm flathead screwdriver, and two ECM225 clamps for post mounting the laser head. Please see the Shipping List tab for a complete list of included components.
|NPL41B||405 ± 10 nm||6 to 38 ns||1.5 nJ||38 mW||15 mW||10 MHz||Yes
(1, 5, and 10 MHz)
|NPL45B||450 ± 10 nm||5 to 39 ns||3 nJ||75 mW||30 mW|
|NPL49B||488 ± 10 nm||6 to 39 ns||2 nJ||50 mW||20 mW|
|NPL52B||520 ± 10 nm||5 to 39 ns||1.2 nJ||30 mW||12 mW|
|NPL64B||640 ± 10 nm||5 to 39 ns||2 nJ||50 mW||20 mW|
These nanosecond pulsed laser systems output adjustable-duration nanosecond pulses in response to a user-supplied trigger input sent to the Trigger In port on the back panel of the laser head. They provide higher pulse energy than lasers with Item #s ending in A or B. Pulses may be triggered at rates up to 50 kHz. Pulse widths are adjustable from 6 to 129 ns over 16 discrete settings with approximately equal spacing. The specific pulse width range depends on the Item # as specified in the table below; please see the Specs tab for more information. Plots of typical pulses are also located in the table below. The control for adjusting the pulse width is located on the back panel, which is shown in the image to the right. The included 2 mm flathead screwdriver can be used to change the pulse width setting.
Please see the Back Panels tab and manual for more information about the features on the back panel.
The aspheric lens integrated into the laser head is factory set to collimate the optical output. These laser systems include the laser head, a +15 V power supply, a 2 mm flathead screwdriver, and two ECM225 clamps for post mounting the laser head. Please see the Shipping List tab for a complete list of included components.
|NPL41C||405 ± 10 nm||6 to 129 ns||128 nJ||1000 mW||6.4 mW||50 kHz||No|
|NPL45C||450 ± 10 nm||204 nJ||1600 mW||10.2 mW|
|NPL52C||520 ± 10 nm||186 nJ||1500 mW||9.3 mW|
|NPL64C||640 ± 10 nm||126 nJ||1000 mW||6.3 mW|
Each NPL series Pulsed Laser Diode system includes two ECM225 anodized aluminum clamps, which snap onto the bottom of the laser housing and are secured by tightening the flexure lock using the 2 mm (5/64") hex locking screw. Additional ECM225 clamps, as well as ECM175 clamps that attach to the side of the laser housing, are available separately. The ECM225 and ECM175 are two of Thorlabs' family of aluminum side clamps that are designed to securely mount Thorlabs' rectangular electronics housings.
The ECM225 has three #8 (M4) counterbored through holes, and the ECM175 has one. The counterbored through holes allow the clamps to be mounted on a Ø1/2" post or any surface with an 8-32 (M4) tap. The clamp must be mounted via the counterbored through hole before the electronics housing is attached, as the counterbore will not be accessible once the housing is secured in the clamp.
The DS15 is a 15 V regulated power supply with a 1.53 m (60.24") long cable and a Mini-XLR connector. It is suitable for any Mini-XLR-compatible device that requires a 15 VDC output, and is directly compatible with our nanosecond pulsed laser systems, sold above. A region-specific adapter plug is shipped with the DS15 power supply based on your location.