APT NanoTrak Auto-Alignment Module
|All Thorlabs' Rack System Modules require the use of the apt™ MMR601 Rack System Enclosure. Independent operation of the modules outside the enclosure is not possible.|
- Tracking Feature Maintains Optimum Throughput Indefinitely
- Advanced Dark Search Algorithms for First Light Detection with Motorized Fiber Launch
- Active Fiber Alignment for maintaining alignment during processes and experimentation
- IR (InGaAs) & PIN Current Inputs Supplied
- Visible (Si) Detectors Available Separately
- Mainframe Access Mix and Match up to 6 Modules, Stepper, Piezo, and NanoTrak Each with Two Channels
- USB Plug and Play Connectivity
- Full Software GUI Control Suite
- ActiveX Graphical Panel Controls & Programming Interfaces
- Seamless Software Integration with Entire APT Family of Products (Electronics and Mechanics)
The modular NanoTrak Auto-Alignment Controller combines an intelligent, active-feedback, alignment control system and a two-channel, piezoelectric controller into a single plug-in unit. As part of the APT series, this autoalignment system represents the latest developments in automated optical alignment technologies. This system is a basic building block from which advanced alignment systems can be quickly configured. It can be fully integrated into a rack system that is comprised of a selection of our plug-ins: piezoelectric controllers, stepper motor controllers, and this NanoTrak autoalignment module. The Controller is available with InGaAs (900 - 1700 nm) or Si (320 - 1000 nm) detectors.
The initial coupling of light from one device (e.g. fiber) to another involves searching a multidimensional space until a signal is detected. The NanoTrak™ support software offers a series of motor search algorithms for this first light detection. Although used primarily for aligning optical fibers and integrated optical devices, the NanoTrak is ideal for automating just about any labor intensive alignment tasks such as waveguide characterization, fiber pigtailing of active and passive devices, as well as a multitude of other R&D applications.
The NanoTrak is supplied with an Infrared wavelength (InGaAs) detector (NTA007) and a PIN diode SMB input for use with external detector heads. A visible wavelength (Si) detector (NTA009) is available separately as detailed below.
|Mechanical Connector||SMB male|
|Photocurrent Range||1 nA to 10 mA|
|Circle Scanning Frequency||1 to 300 Hz|
|Circle Position Range||<1% to >99% MPE|
|Circle Diameter Adj. Modes||Automatic and Manual|
|Signal Phase Compensation||±180°|
|Number of Piezo Channels||2|
|HV Output Connectors|
|Connector Type||SMC male|
|Voltage Output||0 to 75 VDC/Channel|
|Voltage Stability||100 ppm over 24 Hours|
|Noise||<3 mV (rms)|
|Output Current||500 mA/Channel|
|Analog Output Monitors|
|Voltage Range||0 to 10 VDC|
|Strain Gauge Position Feedback|
|Connector Type||9 Pin D-type Female|
|Optical Power Monitor|
|Voltage Range||0 to 10 VDC|
|Ext Signal In Input|
|Voltage Range||0 to 10 VDC|
|Connector Type||26 Pin HD D-Type Female|
|Isolated Digital Inputs||4 off TTL|
|Isolated Digital Outputs||4 off TTL|
|Trigger Input||1 off TTL|
|Trigger Output||1 off TTL|
|Potentiometer Channel Ctrl Input||1-10 k (each channel)|
|Analog Channel Output Monitors||0 to 10 VDC (each channel)|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||190 x 270 x 50 mm|
|Weight||1.5 kg (3.3 lbs)|
Optical Detector Specfications
|Operating Wavelength||900 - 1700 nm||320 - 1000 nm|
|Active Area||Fiber Input||Fiber Input|
|Rise Time||100 ps @ 12 V||100 ps @ 12 V|
|NEP||4.5 x 10-15 W/√Hz||1.5 x 10-15 W/√Hz|
|Dark Current||0.05 nA @ 5 V||0.01 nA @ 10 V|
|1||DIG I/P 1a||19||10||DIG O/P 1a||19||19||Isolated Groundb||-|
|2||DIG I/P 2a||19||11||DIG O/P 2a||19||20||Ext Trigger I/P||22|
|3||DIG I/P 3a||19||12||DIG O/P 3a||19||21||Ext Trigger O/P||22|
|4||DIG I/P 4a||19||13||DIG O/P 4a||19||22||Ground||-|
|5||Channel 1 RS485 (+)||-||14||Channel 2 RS485 (+)||-||23||5 V User O/P (Isolated)||-|
|6||Channel 1 RS485 (-)||-||15||Channel 2 RS485 (+)||-||24||Not Used||-|
|7||Not Used||-||16||Not Used||-||25||Analog Ground||-|
|8||Channel 2 10 V O/Pc||25||17||External Analog I/P CH2 0 - 10 V||25||26||Signal Power Outd||25|
|9||Channel 1 10 V O/Pc||25||18||External Analog I/P CH1 0 - 10 V||25|
|1||Wheatstone Bridge Excitation||4 or 6||4||D.C.(+) or Equipment Grounda||-||7||D.C.(-) or Actuator ID Signala,b||4 or 6|
|2||+15Vc||4 or 6||5||Feedback Signal In||4 or 6||8||RS485 (-)||9|
|3||-15Vc||4 or 6||6||Equiptment Ground||-||9||RS485 (+)||8|
0 to +10V. This output is mirrors HV OUT, 10V being equivalent to 75V on the HV outputs, and can be connected to an oscilloscope to enable the drive signal of the piezo actuator to be monitored.
0 to 75V, 0 to 500mA. Provides the drive signal to the piezo actuator.
0 to 10V, 100kΩ load. Used to receive a signal of optical power from an external power meter.
Principle of Operation
During the auto-alignment process, the NanoTrak uses gradient search algorithms to locate the direction of a peak signal. This operation is similar to that of a compass finding the north pole. The sensitivity of the search is such that even far away from the peak signal, where there are small power gradients, the NanoTrak can decide in which direction the peak signal is located. This information is then used to make positional corrections via the attached high speed piezo actuators without having to map or search a large area.
In the proximity of a peak signal, the signal gradient seen is much smaller, indicating that smaller positional correction is required. When peak signal is reached the gradient seen changes to zero, indicating that no positional correction is needed.
The dynamic behaviour of the NanoTrak allows it to continue the alignment process indefinitely. Should the alignment change, the gradient search will detect the change and make a corrective move.
Typical Application Example (Optical Device Alignment)
Optical power transmission through any system under alignment can be described as a Gaussian coupling. Coupled power lowers as a function of distance relative to the aligned position (dependent upon device). Discrete power level alignments can be thought of as positions about the ideal coupling position, where the distances from the aligned position are equal. These discrete power alignment positions form concentric circles. These concentric circles represent the power contours and can be thought of as the gradient contours of a hill on a topographic map.
By detecting the gradient of the power at any given position, the NanoTrak can adjust the position until the power is maximized and the gradient becomes zero. This is achieved by scanning over the contours in a circular path to establish the direction of the signal maximum on the circular trajectory. The origin of the scan circle is then moved in the direction of the signal maximum.
Continuous active alignment can be used to maintain alignment, or the search algorithms can be halted for next step assembly or R&D operations.
Typical APT User GUI
The APT (Advanced Positioning Technology) family covers a wide range of motion controller products ranging from small, low-power, single channel, optomechanical motor drivers (the 'Cube' drivers) to high-power, multi-channel, modular, 19" rack nanopositioning systems (the APT Rack System).
All controllers in the APT family share a common software platform: the APT System Software. The software CD supplied with all controllers contains an installation of this system software, as well as a wealth of support information in the form of handbooks, help files, tutorial videos, FAQs and other relevant information on using and programming these Thorlabs products.
By providing this common software platform, Thorlabs has ensured that users can easily mix and match any of the APT controllers in a single application while only having to learn one single set of software tools. In this way, it is perfectly feasible to combine any of the controllers from the low powered single axis to the high powered multi-axis systems and control all from a single PC-based unified software interface.
The APT System Software allows two methods of usage - graphical user interface utilities (supplied) for direct interaction and control of the controllers out of the box, and a set of programming interfaces that allow custom integrated positioning and alignment solutions to be easily programmed in the development language of choice.
Typical Configuration Screen
Detailed information on both usage modes is provided on the CD.
Also of particular interest is the inclusion on the software CD of a range of software video tutorials (see the Video Tutorials tab). These videos illustrate some of the basics of using the APT System Software from both a non-programming and a programming point of view. There are videos that illustrate usage of the supplied APT utilities that allow immediate control of the APT controllers out of the box. There are also a number of videos that explain the basics of programming custom software applications using Visual Basic, LabView and Visual C++.
Click here to go direct to the Thorlabs Download Area to access the full APT software CD. Experiment with the software using the simulator mode - refer to the Tutorial Videos for the APTConfig utility to learn how to select simulator mode.
These videos illustrate some of the basics of using the APT System Software from both a non-programming and a programming point of view. There are videos that illustrate usage of the supplied APT utilities that allow immediate control of the APT controllers out of the box. There are also a number of videos that explain the basics of programming custom software applications using Visual Basic, LabView and Visual C++. Watch the videos now to see what we mean.
To further assist programmers, a guide to programming the APT software in LabView is also available.