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Large Beam Diameter Dual-Axis Scanning Galvo Systems


  • For Beam Diameters up to 10 mm
  • Choice of Dielectric or Metallic Mirror Coating
  • Easy Integration into OEM Systems
  • Analog Control Electronics

GVS012

Galvo Scanning System
with Silver-Coated Mirrors

GHS003

Heatsink

GVS112

Dual-Axis Motor/Mirror Assembly
with Gold-Coated Mirrors
(Drivers Not Shown)

Related Items


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Key Specificationsa
Beam Diameter 10 mm (Max)
Input/Output Vertical Beam Offsetb 14.7 mm (0.58")
Repeatability 15 µrad
Linearity (50% Full Travel) 99.9%
Max Mechanical Scan Angle ±20.0° (w/ 0.5 V/deg Scaling)
Bandwidth (50% Full Travel) 65 Hz Square Wave
130 Hz Sine Wave
Small Angle (±0.2°) Bandwidth 1 kHz
Small Angle Step Responsec 400 µs
Analog Position Signal Input Range ±10 V
Mechanical Position Signal Input Scale Factord 1.0 V, 0.8 V, or 0.5 V per degree
Position Sensor Output 40 to 80 µA
  • For complete specifications, please see the Specs tab.
  • The input and output beams are offset by 90°.
  • The settling time for the mirror to stop moving once the drive signal is removed.
  • See the diagram titled "JP7 Volts/Degree Scaling Factor Control" on the Pin Diagrams tab for more details.

Features

  • Moving Magnet Motor Design for Fast Response (400 µs for ±0.2°)
  • High-Precision (15 µrad) Capacitive Mirror Position Detection
  • Analog Control Electronics with Current Damping and Error Limiter
  • Choice of Mirror Coatings (See Table Below)
  • Custom Coatings Available upon Request (Contact Tech Support for More Details)

These high-speed Scanning Galvanometer Mirror Positioning Systems are designed for integration into OEM or custom laser beam steering applications with a beam diameter of <10 mm. Each system includes a dual-axis galvo motor and mirror assembly, associated driver cards, and driver card heatsinks. Also provided is a base plate, which allows the assembly to be mounted on our Ø1/2" posts and our range of tilt platforms. A low-noise, linear power supply (item # prefix GPS011), covers for the driver cards (GCE001), cage system adapter (GCM012), and galvo assembly heat sink (GHS003) are available separately (see below for details). Upon initial setup of the system, a function generator or DAQ card will be needed for operating the servo drivers; see Chapters 3 and 4 in the manual for additional information.

The mirrors are offered with one of five coatings, as shown in the table below. Custom coatings are available upon request. Please contact Tech Support for more details.

Item # GVS412(/M) GVS212(/M) GVS012(/M) GVS312(/M) GVS112(/M)
Coating UV-Enhanced Aluminum Broadband Dielectric (-E02) Protected Silver Nd:YAG Fundamental
and 2nd Harmonic (-K13)
Protected Gold
Wavelength Rangea
(Ravg > 95%)
250 - 450 nm 400 - 750 nm 500 nm - 2.0 µm 532 nm and 1064 nm 800 nm - 20 µm
Damage Thresholds 0.3 J/cm2 at 355 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø0.381 mm)
0.25 J/cm2 at 532 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø0.803 mm)
3 J/cm2 at 1064 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø1.000 mm)
8 J/cm2 at 532 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø0.491 mm)
5 J/cm2 at 1064 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø1.010 mm)
2 J/cm2 at 1064 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø1.000 mm)
  • See the Graphs tab for reflectance curves.

GVS002 Schematic

Galvo Motor/Mirror Assembly
The galvo consists of a galvanometer-based scanning motor with an optical mirror mounted on the shaft and a detector that provides positional feedback to the control board. The moving magnet design for the galvanometer motors was chosen over a stationary magnet and rotating coil design in order to provide the fastest response times and the highest system resonant frequency. The position of the mirror is encoded using a capacitive sensing system located inside of the motor housing.

Due to the large angular acceleration of the rotation shaft, the size, shape, and inertia of the mirrors become significant factors in the design of high performance galvo systems. Furthermore, the mirror must remain rigid (flat) even when subjected to large accelerations. All these factors have been precisely balanced in our galvo systems in order to match the characteristics of the galvo motor and maximize performance of the system.

The galvo mirrors are secured to the motor/mirror assembly by a flexure clamp. The positions of the mirror holders are set at the factory and should not be changed by the user.


GVS012 System
Click to Enlarge

GVS012 Silver-Coated Galvo Mirror Assembly and Driver Boards

Scanning Galvo Mirror Assembly and Driver Board
All Thorlabs scanning galvo mirror systems feature a mounted single- or dual-axis mirror/motor assembly and driver card(s). Shown to the right is the silver-coated 10 mm 2D galvo mirror assembly with two driver cards. The mirror assembly features multiple mounting holes and a rotatable collar mount for the mirror/motor. A flying lead allows connection to the driver board. Please see below for additional mounting options and accessories.

Servo Driver Board
The Proportional Derivative (PD) servo driver circuit interprets the signals from the optical position detecting system inside the motor and then produces the drive voltage required to rotate the mirror to the desired position. The scanner uses a non-integrating, Class 0 servo that is ideal for use in applications that require vector positioning (e.g., laser marking), raster positioning (printing or scanning laser microscopy), and some step-and-hold applications. Furthermore, the proportional derivative controller gives excellent dynamic performance. The circuit includes an additional current term to ensure stability at high accelerations. The same driver board is used in all of our galvo systems.


System Operation
The servo driver must be connected to a DC power supply, the galvo motor, and an input voltage source (the monitoring connection is optional). For continuous scanning applications, a function generator with a square or sine wave output is sufficient for scanning the galvo mirror over its entire range. For more complex scanning patterns, a programmable voltage source such as a DAQ card can be used. Please note that these systems do not include a function generator or a DAQ card. The ratio between the input voltage and mirror position is switchable between 0.5 V/°, 0.8 V/°, and 1 V/°. For these galvo systems, the ±10 V input produces the full angular range of ±20° with a scaling factor of 0.5. The control circuit also provides monitoring outputs that allow the user to track the position of the mirror. In addition, voltages proportional to the drive current being supplied to the motor and the difference between the command position and the actual position of the mirror are supplied by the control circuit.

FTH160-1064 with GAs012
Click to Enlarge

GVS012 Galvo Mirror System Mounted in a GAS012 Bracket with our FTH160-1064 F-Theta Lens (See Details Below)

Closed-Loop Mirror Positioning
The angular orientation (position) of the mirror is measured using a capacitive sensing system, which is integrated into the interior of the galvanometer housing, and allows for the closed-loop operation of the galvo mirror system.

The galvo systems can be driven to scan their full ±20° range at a frequency of 65 Hz when using a square wave control input voltage and 130 Hz when using a sine wave. For a ±0.2° small angle, the step response is 400 µs. The maximum scan frequency is 1 kHz and the angular resolution is 0.0008° (15 µrad, with GPS011-xx Linear Power Supply).

Scan Lens Mounting Bracket
The large diameter two-channel galvo mirrors are compatible with our GAS012 mounting bracket (sold below). This bracket allows the galvo mirrors to be mounted along with one of our F-Theta or Telecentric Scan Lenses (see photo to the right). The complete assembly can be easily integrated into a standard breadboard- or optical table-based optomechanical setup.

Galvanometer System Specifications

Item # GVS412(/M) GVS212(/M) GVS012(/M) GVS312(/M) GVS112(/M)
Mirror
Maximum Beam Diameter 10 mm
Input/Output Vertical Beam Offseta 14.7 mm (0.58")
Substrate Quartz
Coating UV-Enhanced Aluminum Broadband Dielectric (-E02) Protected Silver Nd:YAG Fundamental
and 2nd Harmonic (-K13)
Protected Gold
Wavelength Range 250 - 450 nm 400 - 750 nm 500 nm - 2.0 µm 532 nm and 1064 nm 800 nm - 20 µm
Damage Thresholds 0.3 J/cm2 at 355 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø0.381 mm)
0.25 J/cm2 at 532 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø0.803 mm)
3 J/cm2 at 1064 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø1.000 mm)
8 J/cm2 at 532 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø0.491 mm)
5 J/cm2 at 1064 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø1.010 mm)
2 J/cm2 at 1064 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø1.000 mm)
Parallelism <3 arcmin
Surface Quality 40-20 Scratch-Dig
Front Surface Flatness (@633 nm) λ
Clear Aperture >90% of Dimension
Motor and Position Sensor
Linearity (50% Full Travel) 99.9%
Scale Drift <200 ppm/°C (Max)
Zero Drift <20 μrad/°C (Max)
Repeatability 15 μrad
Resolution (Mechanical) With GPS011 Linear Power Supply: 0.0008° (14 µrad)
With Standard Switching Mode Power Supply: 0.004° (70 µrad)
Average Current 1 A
Peak Current 10 A
Maximum Scan Angle
(Mechanical Angle)
±20.0° (Input Scale Factor 0.5 V per degree)
Motor Weight
(Including Cables, Excluding Brackets)
94 g
Operating Temperature Range 15 to 35 °C
Position Sensor
Output Range
40 to 80 µA
Drive Electronics
Full Scale Bandwidth 65 Hz Square Wave, 130 Hz Sine Wave
Small Angle (±0.2°) Bandwidth 1 kHz
Small Angle Step Responseb 400 µs
Power Supply ±15 to ±18 VDC
(1.25 A rms, 10 A Peak Max)
Analog Signal Input Resistance 20 kΩ ± 1% (Differential Input)
Position Signal Output Resistance 1 kΩ ± 1%
Analog Position Signal Input Range ±10 V
Mechanical Position Signal Input Scale Factorc Switchable: 1.0 V, 0.8 V or 0.5 V per degree
Mechanical Position Signal Output Scale Factor 0.5 V per degree
Operating Temperature Range 15 to 35 °C
Servo Board Size (W x D x H) 85 mm x 74 mm x 44 mm (3.35" x 2.9" x 1.73")
  • The input and output beams are offset by 90°.
  • The settling time for the mirror to stop moving once the drive signal is removed.
  • See the diagram titled "JP7 Volts/Degree Scaling Factor Control" on the Pin Diagrams tab for more details.

Maximum Recommended Scan Angles

Input Beam Diameter Max Optical Scan Angle (Beam Angle) Mechanical Scan Angle (Motor Angle)
X Axis Y Axis X Axis Y Axis
10 mm ±17° +10° / -26° ±8.5° +5° / -13°
8 mm ±20° ±30° ±10° ±15°
6 mm ±23° +40° / -35° ±11.5° +20° / -17.5°
4 mm ±27° ±40° ±13.5° ±20°
2 mm ±31° ±40° ±15.5° ±20°

Power Supply Specifications

Item # GPS011-US GPS011-EC
Input Voltage 115 VAC, 60 Hz 230 VAC, 50 Hz
Output Voltage ±15 VDC, 3.0 A / 0.1 A, 1.4/6.3 ms
Fuses T2.0 A Anti-Surge Ceramic T1.0 A Anti-Surge Ceramic
Dimensions 179 mm x 274 mm (Max) x 122 mm
(7.05" x 10.79" (Max) x 4.8")
Weight 4.73 kg (10.4 lbs)

The curves below show the reflection data for the coated mirrors supplied with the GVS series galvo systems. The shaded regions denote the ranges over which we recommend using the respective coating. Please note that the reflectance outside of these bands is not as rigorously monitored in quality control, and can vary from lot to lot, especially in out-of-band regions where the reflectance is fluctuating or sloped.

Protected Silver at 45 Degree Incident Angle
Click to Enlarge

Excel Spreadsheet with Raw Data for Protected Silver
Protected Gold at 45 Degree Incident Angle
Click to Enlarge

Excel Spreadsheet with Raw Data for Protected Gold

 

-E02 Coating Range, 45° AOI
Click to Enlarge

Excel Spreadsheet with Raw Data for E02 Coating
UV-Enhanced Aluminum at 45 Degree Incident Angle
Click to Enlarge

Excel Spreadsheet with Raw Data for UV-Enhanced Aluminum

 

Dual Band Nd:YAG Coating at 45 Degree Incident Angle
Click to Enlarge

Excel Spreadsheet with Raw Data for K13 Coating
Dual Band Nd:YAG Coating at 45 Degree Incident Angle
Click to Enlarge

Excel Spreadsheet with Raw Data for K13 Coating

This tab contains information regarding the power connector, diagnostics connector, motor connectors, command input connector, and degree scaling factor control on the GVS series driver boards.

GVS Series Driver Connections

GVS Driver

 

 

J10 Power Connector

GVS J10
Pin Designation
1 + 15 V
2 Ground
3 - 15 V

J6 Diagnostics Connector

GVS J6
Pin Designation
1 Scanner Position
2 Internal Command Signal
3 Positioning Error x 5
4 Motor Drive Current
5 Not Connected
6 Test Input (NC)
7 Motor + Coil Voltage / 2
8 Ground

 

J9 Motor Connector

J9
Pin Designation
1 Position Sensor A Current
2 Position Sensor Ground
3 Position Sensor Cable Shield
4 Drive Cable Shield
5 Position Sensor B Current
6 Position Sensor Power
7 Motor + Coil
8 Motor - Coil

Galvo Assembly Motor Connector
GVS001/GVS002 Only

Motor Connector
Pin Designation
1 Motor + Coil
2 Not Used
3 Motor - Coil
4 Position Sensor Cable Shield
5 Not Used
6 Position Sensor Power
7 Not Used
8 Position Sensor A Current
9 Position Sensor B Current
10 Position Sensor Ground

J7 Command Input Connector

J7
O/P
Pin Designation
1 Command Input +ve
2 Command Input -ve
3 DRV OK
4 External Enable
5 -12 V Output (low impedance O/P)
6 +12 V Output (low impedance O/P)
7 Ground
8 Ground

 

JP7 Volts/Degree Scaling Factor Control

JP7

The servo driver cards have a jumper which is used to set the Volts per Degree scaling factor. The cards are shipped with the scaling set to 0.5 V/°, where the maximum mechanical scan angle is nominally ±20° for the full ±10 V input. To change the scaling factor, set the jumper on JP7 as shown above.

External Enabling of the Driver Board

The drive electronics can be configured for external enabling by placing a jumper across pins 2 and 3 of JP4.

JP4
JP4

Once this has been done, the user can enable or disable the drive electronics by applying a 5 V CMOS signal to J7 pin 4.

If a logic high or no signal is applied, the drive electronics will be enabled. If a logic low signal is applied, then the driver will be disabled.

Pin Designation
1 Command Input +ve
2 Command Input -ve
3 No Connect
4 External Enable
5 -12 V Output
6 +12 V Output
7 Ground
8 Ground

J7
J7

Damage Threshold Specifications
Item # Damage Threshold
GVS012(/M) 3 J/cm2 at 1064 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø1.000 mm)
GVS112(/M) 2 J/cm2 at 1064 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø1.000 mm)
GVS212(/M) 0.25 J/cm2 at 532 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø0.803 mm)
GVS312(/M) 8 J/cm2 at 532 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø0.491 mm)
5 J/cm2 at 1064 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø1.010 mm)
GVS412(/M) 0.3 J/cm2 at 355 nm
(10 ns, 10 Hz, Ø0.381 mm)

Damage Threshold Data for Thorlabs' Large Beam Diameter Scanning Galvo Systems

The specifications to the right are measured data for Thorlabs' large beam diameter scanning galvo systems. Damage threshold specifications are constant for all larger diameter scanning galvo system, regardless of the drivers or measurement system of galvo system.

 

Laser Induced Damage Threshold Tutorial

The following is a general overview of how laser induced damage thresholds are measured and how the values may be utilized in determining the appropriateness of an optic for a given application. When choosing optics, it is important to understand the Laser Induced Damage Threshold (LIDT) of the optics being used. The LIDT for an optic greatly depends on the type of laser you are using. Continuous wave (CW) lasers typically cause damage from thermal effects (absorption either in the coating or in the substrate). Pulsed lasers, on the other hand, often strip electrons from the lattice structure of an optic before causing thermal damage. Note that the guideline presented here assumes room temperature operation and optics in new condition (i.e., within scratch-dig spec, surface free of contamination, etc.). Because dust or other particles on the surface of an optic can cause damage at lower thresholds, we recommend keeping surfaces clean and free of debris. For more information on cleaning optics, please see our Optics Cleaning tutorial.

Testing Method

Thorlabs' LIDT testing is done in compliance with ISO/DIS 11254 and ISO 21254 specifications.

First, a low-power/energy beam is directed to the optic under test. The optic is exposed in 10 locations to this laser beam for 30 seconds (CW) or for a number of pulses (pulse repetition frequency specified). After exposure, the optic is examined by a microscope (~100X magnification) for any visible damage. The number of locations that are damaged at a particular power/energy level is recorded. Next, the power/energy is either increased or decreased and the optic is exposed at 10 new locations. This process is repeated until damage is observed. The damage threshold is then assigned to be the highest power/energy that the optic can withstand without causing damage. A histogram such as that below represents the testing of one BB1-E02 mirror.

LIDT metallic mirror
The photograph above is a protected aluminum-coated mirror after LIDT testing. In this particular test, it handled 0.43 J/cm2 (1064 nm, 10 ns pulse, 10 Hz, Ø1.000 mm) before damage.
LIDT BB1-E02
Example Test Data
Fluence # of Tested Locations Locations with Damage Locations Without Damage
1.50 J/cm2 10 0 10
1.75 J/cm2 10 0 10
2.00 J/cm2 10 0 10
2.25 J/cm2 10 1 9
3.00 J/cm2 10 1 9
5.00 J/cm2 10 9 1

According to the test, the damage threshold of the mirror was 2.00 J/cm2 (532 nm, 10 ns pulse, 10 Hz, Ø0.803 mm). Please keep in mind that these tests are performed on clean optics, as dirt and contamination can significantly lower the damage threshold of a component. While the test results are only representative of one coating run, Thorlabs specifies damage threshold values that account for coating variances.

Continuous Wave and Long-Pulse Lasers

When an optic is damaged by a continuous wave (CW) laser, it is usually due to the melting of the surface as a result of absorbing the laser's energy or damage to the optical coating (antireflection) [1]. Pulsed lasers with pulse lengths longer than 1 µs can be treated as CW lasers for LIDT discussions.

When pulse lengths are between 1 ns and 1 µs, laser-induced damage can occur either because of absorption or a dielectric breakdown (therefore, a user must check both CW and pulsed LIDT). Absorption is either due to an intrinsic property of the optic or due to surface irregularities; thus LIDT values are only valid for optics meeting or exceeding the surface quality specifications given by a manufacturer. While many optics can handle high power CW lasers, cemented (e.g., achromatic doublets) or highly absorptive (e.g., ND filters) optics tend to have lower CW damage thresholds. These lower thresholds are due to absorption or scattering in the cement or metal coating.

Linear Power Density Scaling

LIDT in linear power density vs. pulse length and spot size. For long pulses to CW, linear power density becomes a constant with spot size. This graph was obtained from [1].

Intensity Distribution

Pulsed lasers with high pulse repetition frequencies (PRF) may behave similarly to CW beams. Unfortunately, this is highly dependent on factors such as absorption and thermal diffusivity, so there is no reliable method for determining when a high PRF laser will damage an optic due to thermal effects. For beams with a high PRF both the average and peak powers must be compared to the equivalent CW power. Additionally, for highly transparent materials, there is little to no drop in the LIDT with increasing PRF.

In order to use the specified CW damage threshold of an optic, it is necessary to know the following:

  1. Wavelength of your laser
  2. Beam diameter of your beam (1/e2)
  3. Approximate intensity profile of your beam (e.g., Gaussian)
  4. Linear power density of your beam (total power divided by 1/e2 beam diameter)

Thorlabs expresses LIDT for CW lasers as a linear power density measured in W/cm. In this regime, the LIDT given as a linear power density can be applied to any beam diameter; one does not need to compute an adjusted LIDT to adjust for changes in spot size, as demonstrated by the graph to the right. Average linear power density can be calculated using the equation below. 

The calculation above assumes a uniform beam intensity profile. You must now consider hotspots in the beam or other non-uniform intensity profiles and roughly calculate a maximum power density. For reference, a Gaussian beam typically has a maximum power density that is twice that of the uniform beam (see lower right).

Now compare the maximum power density to that which is specified as the LIDT for the optic. If the optic was tested at a wavelength other than your operating wavelength, the damage threshold must be scaled appropriately. A good rule of thumb is that the damage threshold has a linear relationship with wavelength such that as you move to shorter wavelengths, the damage threshold decreases (i.e., a LIDT of 10 W/cm at 1310 nm scales to 5 W/cm at 655 nm):

CW Wavelength Scaling

While this rule of thumb provides a general trend, it is not a quantitative analysis of LIDT vs wavelength. In CW applications, for instance, damage scales more strongly with absorption in the coating and substrate, which does not necessarily scale well with wavelength. While the above procedure provides a good rule of thumb for LIDT values, please contact Tech Support if your wavelength is different from the specified LIDT wavelength. If your power density is less than the adjusted LIDT of the optic, then the optic should work for your application. 

Please note that we have a buffer built in between the specified damage thresholds online and the tests which we have done, which accommodates variation between batches. Upon request, we can provide individual test information and a testing certificate. The damage analysis will be carried out on a similar optic (customer's optic will not be damaged). Testing may result in additional costs or lead times. Contact Tech Support for more information.

Pulsed Lasers

As previously stated, pulsed lasers typically induce a different type of damage to the optic than CW lasers. Pulsed lasers often do not heat the optic enough to damage it; instead, pulsed lasers produce strong electric fields capable of inducing dielectric breakdown in the material. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to compare the LIDT specification of an optic to your laser. There are multiple regimes in which a pulsed laser can damage an optic and this is based on the laser's pulse length. The highlighted columns in the table below outline the relevant pulse lengths for our specified LIDT values.

Pulses shorter than 10-9 s cannot be compared to our specified LIDT values with much reliability. In this ultra-short-pulse regime various mechanics, such as multiphoton-avalanche ionization, take over as the predominate damage mechanism [2]. In contrast, pulses between 10-7 s and 10-4 s may cause damage to an optic either because of dielectric breakdown or thermal effects. This means that both CW and pulsed damage thresholds must be compared to the laser beam to determine whether the optic is suitable for your application.

Pulse Duration t < 10-9 s 10-9 < t < 10-7 s 10-7 < t < 10-4 s t > 10-4 s
Damage Mechanism Avalanche Ionization Dielectric Breakdown Dielectric Breakdown or Thermal Thermal
Relevant Damage Specification No Comparison (See Above) Pulsed Pulsed and CW CW

When comparing an LIDT specified for a pulsed laser to your laser, it is essential to know the following:

Energy Density Scaling

LIDT in energy density vs. pulse length and spot size. For short pulses, energy density becomes a constant with spot size. This graph was obtained from [1].

  1. Wavelength of your laser
  2. Energy density of your beam (total energy divided by 1/e2 area)
  3. Pulse length of your laser
  4. Pulse repetition frequency (prf) of your laser
  5. Beam diameter of your laser (1/e2 )
  6. Approximate intensity profile of your beam (e.g., Gaussian)

The energy density of your beam should be calculated in terms of J/cm2. The graph to the right shows why expressing the LIDT as an energy density provides the best metric for short pulse sources. In this regime, the LIDT given as an energy density can be applied to any beam diameter; one does not need to compute an adjusted LIDT to adjust for changes in spot size. This calculation assumes a uniform beam intensity profile. You must now adjust this energy density to account for hotspots or other nonuniform intensity profiles and roughly calculate a maximum energy density. For reference a Gaussian beam typically has a maximum energy density that is twice that of the 1/e2 beam.

Now compare the maximum energy density to that which is specified as the LIDT for the optic. If the optic was tested at a wavelength other than your operating wavelength, the damage threshold must be scaled appropriately [3]. A good rule of thumb is that the damage threshold has an inverse square root relationship with wavelength such that as you move to shorter wavelengths, the damage threshold decreases (i.e., a LIDT of 1 J/cm2 at 1064 nm scales to 0.7 J/cm2 at 532 nm):

Pulse Wavelength Scaling

You now have a wavelength-adjusted energy density, which you will use in the following step.

Beam diameter is also important to know when comparing damage thresholds. While the LIDT, when expressed in units of J/cm², scales independently of spot size; large beam sizes are more likely to illuminate a larger number of defects which can lead to greater variances in the LIDT [4]. For data presented here, a <1 mm beam size was used to measure the LIDT. For beams sizes greater than 5 mm, the LIDT (J/cm2) will not scale independently of beam diameter due to the larger size beam exposing more defects.

The pulse length must now be compensated for. The longer the pulse duration, the more energy the optic can handle. For pulse widths between 1 - 100 ns, an approximation is as follows:

Pulse Length Scaling

Use this formula to calculate the Adjusted LIDT for an optic based on your pulse length. If your maximum energy density is less than this adjusted LIDT maximum energy density, then the optic should be suitable for your application. Keep in mind that this calculation is only used for pulses between 10-9 s and 10-7 s. For pulses between 10-7 s and 10-4 s, the CW LIDT must also be checked before deeming the optic appropriate for your application.

Please note that we have a buffer built in between the specified damage thresholds online and the tests which we have done, which accommodates variation between batches. Upon request, we can provide individual test information and a testing certificate. Contact Tech Support for more information.


[1] R. M. Wood, Optics and Laser Tech. 29, 517 (1998).
[2] Roger M. Wood, Laser-Induced Damage of Optical Materials (Institute of Physics Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, 2003).
[3] C. W. Carr et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 91, 127402 (2003).
[4] N. Bloembergen, Appl. Opt. 12, 661 (1973).

In order to illustrate the process of determining whether a given laser system will damage an optic, a number of example calculations of laser induced damage threshold are given below. For assistance with performing similar calculations, we provide a spreadsheet calculator that can be downloaded by clicking the button to the right. To use the calculator, enter the specified LIDT value of the optic under consideration and the relevant parameters of your laser system in the green boxes. The spreadsheet will then calculate a linear power density for CW and pulsed systems, as well as an energy density value for pulsed systems. These values are used to calculate adjusted, scaled LIDT values for the optics based on accepted scaling laws. This calculator assumes a Gaussian beam profile, so a correction factor must be introduced for other beam shapes (uniform, etc.). The LIDT scaling laws are determined from empirical relationships; their accuracy is not guaranteed. Remember that absorption by optics or coatings can significantly reduce LIDT in some spectral regions. These LIDT values are not valid for ultrashort pulses less than one nanosecond in duration.

Intensity Distribution
A Gaussian beam profile has about twice the maximum intensity of a uniform beam profile.

CW Laser Example
Suppose that a CW laser system at 1319 nm produces a 0.5 W Gaussian beam that has a 1/e2 diameter of 10 mm. A naive calculation of the average linear power density of this beam would yield a value of 0.5 W/cm, given by the total power divided by the beam diameter:

CW Wavelength Scaling

However, the maximum power density of a Gaussian beam is about twice the maximum power density of a uniform beam, as shown in the graph to the right. Therefore, a more accurate determination of the maximum linear power density of the system is 1 W/cm.

An AC127-030-C achromatic doublet lens has a specified CW LIDT of 350 W/cm, as tested at 1550 nm. CW damage threshold values typically scale directly with the wavelength of the laser source, so this yields an adjusted LIDT value:

CW Wavelength Scaling

The adjusted LIDT value of 350 W/cm x (1319 nm / 1550 nm) = 298 W/cm is significantly higher than the calculated maximum linear power density of the laser system, so it would be safe to use this doublet lens for this application.

Pulsed Nanosecond Laser Example: Scaling for Different Pulse Durations
Suppose that a pulsed Nd:YAG laser system is frequency tripled to produce a 10 Hz output, consisting of 2 ns output pulses at 355 nm, each with 1 J of energy, in a Gaussian beam with a 1.9 cm beam diameter (1/e2). The average energy density of each pulse is found by dividing the pulse energy by the beam area:

Pulse Energy Density

As described above, the maximum energy density of a Gaussian beam is about twice the average energy density. So, the maximum energy density of this beam is ~0.7 J/cm2.

The energy density of the beam can be compared to the LIDT values of 1 J/cm2 and 3.5 J/cm2 for a BB1-E01 broadband dielectric mirror and an NB1-K08 Nd:YAG laser line mirror, respectively. Both of these LIDT values, while measured at 355 nm, were determined with a 10 ns pulsed laser at 10 Hz. Therefore, an adjustment must be applied for the shorter pulse duration of the system under consideration. As described on the previous tab, LIDT values in the nanosecond pulse regime scale with the square root of the laser pulse duration:

Pulse Length Scaling

This adjustment factor results in LIDT values of 0.45 J/cm2 for the BB1-E01 broadband mirror and 1.6 J/cm2 for the Nd:YAG laser line mirror, which are to be compared with the 0.7 J/cm2 maximum energy density of the beam. While the broadband mirror would likely be damaged by the laser, the more specialized laser line mirror is appropriate for use with this system.

Pulsed Nanosecond Laser Example: Scaling for Different Wavelengths
Suppose that a pulsed laser system emits 10 ns pulses at 2.5 Hz, each with 100 mJ of energy at 1064 nm in a 16 mm diameter beam (1/e2) that must be attenuated with a neutral density filter. For a Gaussian output, these specifications result in a maximum energy density of 0.1 J/cm2. The damage threshold of an NDUV10A Ø25 mm, OD 1.0, reflective neutral density filter is 0.05 J/cm2 for 10 ns pulses at 355 nm, while the damage threshold of the similar NE10A absorptive filter is 10 J/cm2 for 10 ns pulses at 532 nm. As described on the previous tab, the LIDT value of an optic scales with the square root of the wavelength in the nanosecond pulse regime:

Pulse Wavelength Scaling

This scaling gives adjusted LIDT values of 0.08 J/cm2 for the reflective filter and 14 J/cm2 for the absorptive filter. In this case, the absorptive filter is the best choice in order to avoid optical damage.

Pulsed Microsecond Laser Example
Consider a laser system that produces 1 µs pulses, each containing 150 µJ of energy at a repetition rate of 50 kHz, resulting in a relatively high duty cycle of 5%. This system falls somewhere between the regimes of CW and pulsed laser induced damage, and could potentially damage an optic by mechanisms associated with either regime. As a result, both CW and pulsed LIDT values must be compared to the properties of the laser system to ensure safe operation.

If this relatively long-pulse laser emits a Gaussian 12.7 mm diameter beam (1/e2) at 980 nm, then the resulting output has a linear power density of 5.9 W/cm and an energy density of 1.2 x 10-4 J/cm2 per pulse. This can be compared to the LIDT values for a WPQ10E-980 polymer zero-order quarter-wave plate, which are 5 W/cm for CW radiation at 810 nm and 5 J/cm2 for a 10 ns pulse at 810 nm. As before, the CW LIDT of the optic scales linearly with the laser wavelength, resulting in an adjusted CW value of 6 W/cm at 980 nm. On the other hand, the pulsed LIDT scales with the square root of the laser wavelength and the square root of the pulse duration, resulting in an adjusted value of 55 J/cm2 for a 1 µs pulse at 980 nm. The pulsed LIDT of the optic is significantly greater than the energy density of the laser pulse, so individual pulses will not damage the wave plate. However, the large average linear power density of the laser system may cause thermal damage to the optic, much like a high-power CW beam.


Posted Comments:
Akihide Hibara  (posted 2019-07-11 16:32:22.403)
大径ビーム用走査型2軸ガルバノミラーシステムをケージシステム(光トラップキットのセット)に組み込むことを考えています。どれとどれを購入すればよいのでしょうか?まずは最もありそうな見積を頂けますと検討の参考にできますのでよろしくお願いいたします。
AManickavasagam  (posted 2019-07-23 03:49:10.0)
Response from Arunthathi at Thorlabs: Thanks for your query. We have contacted you directly with more information on our optical tweezer kit and the parts you might require for your system.
user  (posted 2019-01-09 11:29:33.513)
Hi, would this galvo-scanning system be compatible with the USB-6003 DAQ card from National Instruments?: http://www.ni.com/pdf/manuals/374372a.pdf (it has sample rate of 100kS/s, but only 5 kS/s for the update rate) Thanks in advance!
AManickavasagam  (posted 2019-01-11 06:16:43.0)
Response from Arunthathi at Thorlabs: Thanks for your query. The NI USB-6003 would be compatible with our galvos. However, considering the update rate is lower, it is just that the system would not get updated as fast as we specify but this requirement would be application specific and if you would like to discuss this further please contact your local tech-support office.
kevin.godineau  (posted 2018-05-03 14:05:33.55)
Hello. We currently have the GVS012 system and would like to know if you have a dynamic model of the galvanometer and servo driver board. We are interested to have more informations (bode diagrams, mirrors inertia, inductance and resistance of the coils...). The objective is to better understand how the galvanometer + servo board system work in order to improve our work. Thank you very much ! Kevin Godineau
rmiron  (posted 2018-05-10 07:32:42.0)
Response from Radu at Thorlabs: As you probably noticed already, we upload only surface models, which are unfit for simulations, on the website. I will contact you directly in order to discuss the possibility of sending you a more detailed model.
christian.maibohm  (posted 2017-03-29 06:35:08.52)
Dear Thorlabs, I have question regarding the maximum scan angle. The maximum is listed to +/- 20 degrees with a scaling factor of 0.5 V but in the pin diagram it is stated that when using 0.5 V the maximum voltage should be 6.25 V giving a maximum angle of +/- 12.5 degree. Which of these numbers should I use? Best regards, Christian Maibohm
awebber-date  (posted 2017-03-29 09:49:28.0)
Response from Alex at Thorlabs: The 6.25 V maximum voltage is the limit on the input voltage for our small beam diameter galvos which have a max scan angle of ±12.5 degrees. For these large beam diameter galvos the maximum voltage limit is actually 10V. This information can be found in the manuals for these galvo systems. We can understand where this confusion came from and will try to change the website in order to make this clearer in future.
mikael.malmstrom  (posted 2017-02-16 08:52:31.57)
Hi What is the maximum achievable angular speed?
bhallewell  (posted 2017-02-23 10:20:37.0)
Response from Ben at Thorlabs: Thank you for your question Mikael. The bandwidth that we advise is 1kHz over ±0.2°, 65 Hz Square Wave/ 130 Hz Sine Wave over +/-20 deg. We anticipate a peak velocity of 5200 deg/sec.
pornthep.pongchalee  (posted 2017-02-01 19:39:03.947)
Hello, I am Racha from Thailand. I am using 2-axis large beam diameter galvo scanning mirror (GVS012) but the wire-to-board connector is broken (It was from previous user, he modified the connector to get longer cable) and I am trying to re-solder the separated cable from motor to controller board directly. The problem is I don't know about where to connect them together (It's appear in difference colors). Could you tell me which color is connected to each pin in J9 motor connector. There are two main cable. The first one consists of Red, White, and shielding. The second one consists of Red, Green, Yellow, White, Black, and non-insulated copper wire. Thank you very much!!
bhallewell  (posted 2017-02-09 08:51:36.0)
Response from Ben at Thorlabs: We will contact you directly to talk through the connection details for the motor drive cable.
kyle.m.douglass  (posted 2015-12-02 17:31:55.58)
Hello, I am trying to determine whether my DAC will be able to control the Thorlabs dual-axis galvos. I have read pg. 20 of the instruction manual and I am unsure of this line: "Dual bipolar -10V to 10V DAC analogue output channels (differential)." My DAC has three BNC outputs, each one is capable of independently outputting an analog signal between -10V and 10V. However, I do not believe they are differential outputs based on the illustration on page 17 of the manual; rather, they are standard outputs. Can I simply connect J7 pin 2 to ground, or is this not advised? Will I lose half the scanning range? I would be happy to provide more information if needed. Thanks!
msoulby  (posted 2015-12-03 06:31:53.0)
Response from Mike at Thorlabs: A differential voltage is “floating”, meaning that it has no reference to ground. The measurement is taken as the voltage difference between the two wires. A single-ended measurement is taken as the voltage difference between a wire and ground. If you are not using a differential drive signal then yes you will need to connect pin 2 to ground as per the schematic on the manual on page 17.
gangsehyeok  (posted 2015-06-21 16:05:29.77)
Hello, I am Sehyuk from South Korea. I have some inquiries, so I contact to you. I bought GVS212/M, GPS011, PH40/M and TR40/M. I want to know how to operate and control this system. Is it possible to control by Matlab?
bhallewell  (posted 2015-06-22 11:12:28.0)
Response from Ben at Thorlabs: The GVS212 system is designed as an analogue OEM system, whereby the mechanical position of each mirror is determined by the voltage applied to the command ports on the included galvo drive cards. The scale factor can be set at 1.0 V, 0.8 V, or 0.5 V per degree. The system includes a kit in which command signal cables can be built to integrate with your control system. Such a control we would recommend is a signal generator, most commonly in the form of a DAQ card which can be programmed as you have suggested. More details of our recommended specs can be found in page. 20 of the product manual.
Michael.Roth  (posted 2015-02-26 13:57:14.04)
Can you say anything about damage threshold in cw operation for the silver mirror? In my application total power would be max. 100W, power density would be max. 500W/cm^2. Do these values come anywhere near to any limits? Thank you very much for yor answer in advance.
msoulby  (posted 2015-03-02 06:07:08.0)
We do not currently have any data on the CW damage threshold of these mirrors. The silver coating will be able to handle the power you are aiming to use, however due to the size and volume of these small galvo mirrors means that the substrate material will heat up very quickly when exposed to high powered lasers. This could cause the mirror to distort due to excessive heat build-up. unfortunately we have no data on when this would occur for these smaller mirrors, however details of the CW damage thresholds of our standard silver mirrors can be found at the following page http://www.thorlabs.de/newgrouppage9.cfm?objectgroup_id=903
cboutop  (posted 2014-10-07 21:05:46.233)
Do you provide/sell any software platform for controlling the dual axis scanning systems? i.e., apply simple scanning geometries, control speed etc. thank you. Christos
msoulby  (posted 2014-10-09 10:53:48.0)
Response from Mike at Thorlabs: At this time thorlabs does not currently offer a galvo system that ships with a software package and controller to control the scanning speed, shape, etc. However we are currently developing a more complete galvo system including DAQ card and software and will be released as a product by thorlabs at some point in the future.
bcense  (posted 2013-12-11 01:28:17.597)
Would it be possible to supply longer cables to cover the distance between the driver and the galvo scanner? The short cables that are currently used do not provide much setup design freedom.
msoulby  (posted 2013-12-11 06:33:46.0)
Response from Mike at Thorlabs: Yes it is possible to provide longer cables for our galvo systems. We have contacted you directly to discuss you requirements.
jlow  (posted 2012-11-06 16:39:00.0)
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: With regard to the GVS012 in the GCM012 housing cage, the holes in which the galvo mirror/motors sit are machined so that the target mirror sits centered on the optical axis as centered through the GCM012 cage windows. Please note that when inserting a galvo into this GCM012 cage, the mirror motors will have to be manually orientated to alignment. The scanning angle is calibrated so that there is a signal/degree setting of 0.5V/degree. Out of the packaging, both motors are orientated and calibrated so that an incident beam will be outputted in a 'zeroed' perpendicular direction to within the angular resolution of the system. The galvo can be easily adjusted however by manipulating this control signal to optimize alignment. With regard to the surface flatness, that's something that I would have to look into and post on the website.
neil.troy  (posted 2012-11-01 19:41:18.343)
What is the surface flatness of the mirrors? Are the SM1 threaded tubes centered about the entrance pupil for the Galvo? Do these come factory aligned to bend the beam 90 degrees (with a deviation of 15 mm listed), ie. will a beam parallel to the table still be parallel to the table when the galvo's are zero'd?

2-Axis Large Beam Diameter Scanning Galvo Systems

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GVS412 Support Documentation
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GVS212 Support Documentation
GVS212Customer Inspired! 2D Large Beam (10 mm) Diameter Galvo System, Broadband Mirrors (-E02), PSU Not Included
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GVS012 Support Documentation
GVS0122D Large Beam (10 mm) Diameter Galvo System, Silver-Coated Mirrors, PSU Not Included
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GVS312 Support Documentation
GVS312Customer Inspired! 2D Large Beam (10 mm) Diameter Galvo System, Dual Band Mirrors 532 nm/1064 nm (-K13), PSU Not Included
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GVS112 Support Documentation
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GVS212/M Support Documentation
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GVS012/M2D Large Beam (10 mm) Diameter Galvo System, Silver-Coated Mirrors, Metric, PSU Not Included
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Galvo System Linear Power Supplies

  • Compatible with All Thorlabs Galvo Systems
  • Low Noise, Linear Supply Minimizes Electrical Interference
  • Capable of Powering Two Server Driver Cards Simultaneously
  • Configured for Regional Voltage Requirements upon Shipping

These power supplies are low noise, linear supplies designed to minimize electrical interference for maximum system resolution. They deliver ±15 VDC at 3 A and are configured to accept a mains voltage of 115 VAC (for GPS011-US) or 230 VAC (for GPS011-EC). Each power supply is compatible with all of our galvo systems and can power two server driver cards simultaneously. Two 2 m (6.5') power cables are included.

As an alternative, a standard switching mode power supply may be used for low demand applications.

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GPS011-US Support Documentation
GPS011-US1D or 2D Galvo System Linear Power Supply, 115 VAC
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GPS011-EC Support Documentation
GPS011-EC1D or 2D Galvo System Linear Power Supply, 230 VAC
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Galvo Mount Heatsink and Post Mounting Adapter


Click to Enlarge

2D Galvo System Mounted on Heatsink on a Ø1/2" Post
  • Provides Additional Cooling to Prevent Thermal Cutout
  • Attaches Directly to the 1D and 2D Mirror Mounts
  • Convenient Post Adapter to Thorlabs’ 8-32 (M4) Threaded Posts

The GHS003 galvo mirror heatsink attaches directly to the single-axis and dual-axis mirror mounts to provide device cooling and alternate mounting options. Mounting screws are supplied with the unit.

Heat from the galvo mirrors is typically dissipated through the normal mounting options. However, applications involving rapidly changing drive signals can create excess heat buildup, causing the galvo motor to fail or driver board thermal cutout to trip. If the cutout occurs repeatedly, we recommend using the GHS003 Heatsink. The heatsink also serves as a post adapter, allowing the galvo mirror assembly to be mounted on our Ø1/2" 8-32 (M4) threaded posts.

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GHS003/MGalvo Heatsink and Post Mounting Adapter, Metric
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Cage Adapter for 2D 10 mm Galvo System

GCM012 in a 30 mm Cage System
Click to Enlarge

The GCM012 Cage System Adapter Integrated with 30 mm Cage Components
  • SM1-Threaded (1.035"-40) Input and Output Ports
  • Gasket Included for Light-Tight Applications
  • All Mounting Screws Supplied

The GCM012 Cage System Adapter is used to mount the GVSx12 dual-axis galvo systems into a 30 mm cage system. The adapter features SM1-threaded (1.035"-40) input and output ports. A gasket is included for use in light-tight applications, and all mounting screws are supplied.

Note: The input and output ports are on different planes and are offset by 14.7 mm (0.57"). Cage systems should be adapted accordingly.

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GCM012 Support Documentation
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Mounting Bracket for Galvo Mirror and Scan Lenses

  • Mounting Bracket for Integrating our F-Theta Scan Lenses and LSM05 Telecentric Scan Lens with our Large Beam Galvo Mirror Pairs Sold Above
  • Removable 30 mm-Cage- and SM1-Thread-Compatible Input Plate
  • Thread Adapters Required for Attaching All Scan Lenses
  • Compatible with Imperial or Metric Breadboards and Optical Tables

The GAS012 Mounting Bracket allows for the integration of our FTH100-1064, FTH160-1064, FTH254-1064, or FTH160-1064-M39 F-Theta scan lenses or our LSM05 Telecentric Scan Lens with our galvanometer mirror pairs that are sold above. It also allows the complete assembly to be integrated with optical-table- or breadboard-based optomechanical setups. To use the GAS012 mounting bracket, a thread adapter (also sold below) must also be purchased. This places the lens at the recommended distance from the second galvo mirror. See the table below for a description of which adapter is compatible with each scan lens.

The bracket's input light port is a plate equipped with both SM1 (1.035"-40) threading and four Ø6 mm cage rod holes for Ø1" lens tube and 30 mm cage system integration, respectively. The bottom mounting surface of the GAS012 has eight #8 (M4) and nine 1/4" (M6) through holes, spaced at 12.6 mm (0.496") and 25.2 mm (0.99"), respectively, for compatibility with both imperial and metric breadboards and optical tables. When mounted, the GVS012(/M) galvo mirror pair does not sit directly on this surface, allowing all of the through holes to be used for table or breadboard mounting.

Mounting Bracket Item # GAS012
Thread Adapter Item # GAS0121 GAS0122 GAS0124 GAS0123
Compatible Scan Lens FTH100-1064
FTH160-1064
FTH254-1064 FTH160-1064-M39 LSM05
Compatible Galvo Mirror System Large Beam Diameter Dual-Axis Galvo Systems (Sold Above)
Assembled System Photo
(Click for Details)
FTH160-1064 with GAS012 FTH160-1064 with GAS012 FTH160-1064-M39 with GAS012 LSM05 with GAS012
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GAS0121 Support Documentation
GAS0121Scan Lens Thread Adapter for GAS012 and FTH100-1064 or FTH160-1064
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GAS0122 Support Documentation
GAS0122Scan Lens Thread Adapter for GAS012 and FTH254-1064
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GAS0124 Support Documentation
GAS0124Scan Lens Thread Adapter for GAS012 and FTH160-1064-M39
$63.38
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GAS0123 Support Documentation
GAS0123Scan Lens Thread Adapter for GAS012 and LSM05
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Galvo Driver Card Cover

GCM012 in a 30 mm Cage System
Click to Enlarge

The GCE001 can be used to cover the Galvo Systems' servo driver boards.

The GCE001 is a convenient enclosure for servo driver cards. Simply bolt it onto the servo driver bracket using the M3 screws and hex key supplied.

Note: This item is not compatible with early models of the servo driver card. Contact Tech Support for more details.

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GCE001 Support Documentation
GCE001Galvo Driver Card Cover
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