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K-Cube™ Liquid Crystal Controller
Liquid Crystal Controller
(Power Supply Sold Separately)
Table Mounting Plate (Included with KLC101)
Application IdeaTwo KLC101 controllers can be used to operate variable retarders so that any polarization state can be achieved
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Back and Top Views of the KLC101 K-Cube
(See the Pin Diagrams Tab for More Information)
The KLC101 K-Cube Liquid Crystal Controller is a part of Thorlabs' growing line of high-end, compact controllers and is designed to drive many of Thorlabs' liquid crystal variable retarders, polarization rotators, and cells (see the table to the upper right for compatible devices). It supplies a square-wave AC output voltage with user-set frequency and amplitude that can be varied from 500 Hz to 10 kHz and 0 Vrms to ±25 Vrms, respectively. Any DC offset will automatically be detected and corrected to within ±10 mV in real time, helpful for increasing the life of the liquid crystal device. Settings can be input using either the scroll wheel and button on the top panel or a PC connected via the USB port. Alternatively, an input voltage applied to the MOD IN port can be used to control the output voltage (see below for details). Two SMA ports are provided for use with 5 V logic external trigger input and output signals, allowing the voltage output to be synchronized with external equipment. For example, multiple K-cube controllers can be connected together using the trigger inputs and outputs for synchronized, multi-channel system operation.
The unit has a highly compact 60.0 mm x 60.0 mm x 46.7 mm footprint, allowing it to be positioned close to the optical system for added convenience when manually adjusting settings using the top panel controls. Tabletop operation also allows minimal drive cable lengths for easier cable management. Each unit also contains a front-located power switch that, when turned off, saves all user-adjustable settings. Please note that this switch should always be used to power down the unit. For convenience, a 1.5 m long Type A to Type Micro B USB 3.0 cable is included with the KLC101 K-cube.
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KCH601 USB Controller Hub with Installed K-Cube and T-Cube Modules (T-Cubes Require the KAP101 Adapter)
Optical Table Mounting Plate
Power Supply Options
Multiple units can be connected to a single PC by using the KCH301 or KCH601 USB Controller Hubs, available below, for multi-axis motion control applications. The KCH601, shown below and to the right, allows up to six T- or K-Cube controllers to be used while the KCH301 allows up to three controllers to be used.
All power supply options compatible with the KLC101 Liquid Crystal Controller can be found below.
An alternative to the KLC101 K-cube is the LCC25 Benchtop Liquid Crystal Controller.
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Mechanical Drawing of the KLC101 and Included Optical Table Adapter
|+5 V TTL||+5 V TTL|
|These connectors provide 5 V logic level input or output to support triggering into and out of external devices. Each port can be configured using the Settings menu on the K-cube's top panel. Both are defaulted to output. When a port is configured to be input, the other will automatically be set to output.|
|Accepts 0 to +5 V DC External Analog Input|
Two options are available to securely mount our K-Cube™ controllers onto an optical table. An optical table mounting plate, provided with every K-Cube, allows for a single controller to be attached to an optical table. Alternatively, three- and six-port USB controller hubs are offered (sold separately) that can mount and power our K-Cube controllers. These options are described in further detail below.
Optical Table Mounting Plate
Each K-Cube unit comes with a mounting plate that clips onto the base of the controller, as shown in the animation to the right. The plate contains two magnets for temporary placement on an optical table and two counterbores for 1/4"-20 (M6) cap screws for a more permanent placement on the tabletop. Please see the Specs tab for a mechanical drawing of the table mounting plate.
Kinesis USB Controller Hubs
Multiple units can be mounted and connected to a single PC by using the KCH301 or KCH601 USB Controller Hubs. They each consist of two parts: the hub, which can support up to three (KCH301) or six (KCH601) K-Cubes or T-Cubes™, and a power supply that plugs into a standard wall outlet. K-Cubes simply clip into place using the provided on-unit clips, while current- and previous-generation T-Cubes require the KAP101 Adapter Plate, shown in the animation below. The hub vastly reduces the number of USB and power cables required when operating multiple controllers.
The stand-alone software user interface, which is distinct from Thorlabs' Kinesis® software, allows full control of all KLC101 settings and operating modes, enabling complete ‘out-of-box’ operation of a single KLC101 controller. In addition to remotely controlling the settings that can be accessed from the KLC101 top panel, the software also includes Sequence and Sweep modes. The Sequence tool can be used to set a sequence of different output voltage amplitudes, frequencies, and step durations. In Sweep mode, the KLC101 will scan between user-set start and end voltages with a user-specified step size and step duration. The software also comes with a SDK that supports C++, LabVIEW™, and Python.
To control multiple KLC101 units simultaneously requires opening multiple instances of the software. Each instance will ask the user to select the particular K-cube that it will connect to upon opening. Each instance of the software will work independently from the others with no communication between them.
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Thorlabs' KLC101 K-Cube Liquid Crystal Controller provides control of the liquid crystal polarization rotators, cells, and variable retarders listed in the Compatible LC Devices table above. The digital display and controls on the top panel can be used to locally set the output voltage amplitude and frequency. The digital display includes a backlight that can be dimmed or turned off using the top panel menu options. Alternatively, a USB port allows the unit to be connected to a computer and controlled using the KLC101 software (available on the Software tab above).
A MOD IN port on the back panel also allows the output to voltage to be controlled using a 0 to 5 V input, with a 5 V input corresponding to a ±25 VAC output. The front of the unit contains two bidirectional trigger ports that can be used to read a 5 V external logic signal or output a 5 V logic signal to control external equipment.
Please note that this controller does not ship with a power supply. Compatible power supplies are listed below.
The TPS002 supplies power for up to two K-Cubes* or T-Cubes. The cubes still require individual computer connection via USB cable.
The KCH301 and KCH601 USB Controller Hubs each consist of two parts: the hub, which can support up to three (KCH301) or six (KCH601) K-Cubes or T-Cubes, and a power supply that plugs into a standard wall outlet. The hub draws a maximum current of 10 A; please verify that the cubes being used do not require a total current of more than 10 A. In addition, the hub provides USB connectivity to any docked K-Cube or T-Cube through a single USB connection.
For more information on the USB Controller Hubs, see the full web presentation.
*The TPS002 can only support one KNA-VIS or KNA-IR controller or one KLD101 driver and should not be used to power any additional units as that may exceed current limitations.