Optical Tables: Performance Series, High Stiffness, Enhanced Damping
Optical Tables Tutorial Topics
Quick Optical Table Model Selection Guide
For a more detailed guide to choosing an optical table model please see the Selection Guide tab. Non-Magnetic optical tables are also available.
- Thickness: 8.3" (210 mm)
- Athermalized Design for Excellent Thermal Stability
- Low Deflection Under Load
- Triple Plate Double Honeycomb Core
- Excellent Surface Flatness of ±0.1 mm (±0.004") over any 1 m²
- Proprietary Broadband Damping
- Mounting Holes are Sealed with Plated Steel Cups for Easy Cleanup
Thorlabs' Performance Series of Optical Tables are designed to provide a superior mounting surface for vibrationally sensitive photonics applications due to the triple plate, double honeycomb design with proprietary broadband and tuned damping systems. Our intermediate line of Performance and PerformancePlus series optical tables are often used in imaging, single mode fiber launch, micropositioning, and interferometeric applications. For more information on the specifications and construction of the Performance series of optical tables please view the Specs and Construction Specs tabs, respectively.
Vibration isolation systems are composed of two components: an optical table and optical table supports. As described in the optical tables tutorial, the vibration sources in the environment surrounding the optical table principally determine the level of isolation required in the optical table supports while the application and sources of vibration on the optical table surface are the determining factors in choosing an optical table (see the Selection Guide tab).
Thorlabs' optical tables have design features that enhance their usability and longevity. Some of these features can be as important as the table's performance specifications (see the Specs tab) when it comes to choosing a table. The table below summarizes some of the construction features found on Thorlabs' optical tables that make a tangible difference in the quality of the finished product.
Optical Table Construction
|Category||Feature and Benefit|
|Top Plate Construction||The top and bottom plates of the optical table are made from sheets of 5 mm thick stainless steel. Thorlabs' constructs its optical tables with matched plates so that the thermal expansion of the top and bottom plates is identical. This prevents the table from bowing or developing internal stresses due to changes in temperature.|
|An advanced handling and pressurized thermal bonding process ensures that the top surface remains flat and stress free. In other words, the top surface of the table starts out flat and stays flat throughout the entire construction process.|
|The top surface of the optical table has a brushed surface in order to minimize specular reflections.|
|Sidewall Construction*||The sidewalls (as well as the top plate, bottom plate, and if applicable, the interior plate of the table) are made from stainless steel for superior stiffness and structural integrity.|
|Interior Construction||The pressurized thermal bonding process ensures the structural integrity of the composite table and eliminates the possibility of delamination.|
|The honeycomb core is constructed from work-hardened, plated steel. Work-hardening increase the rigidity of the honeycomb while the plating increases the steel's resistance to corrosion.|
|Vibrations transmitted to or created on Performance, PerformacePlus, Ultra, and UltraPlus optical table are damped via proprietary tuned and broadband dampers. The broadband dampers are specially shaped pieces of inhomogeneous material which act as though they contain a spectrum of masses, separated by a continuous spectrum of distances in an elastomeric polymer. The effect is dramatic; greatly reducing the height of the low frequency resonance compliance peaks, sometimes by more than an order of magnitude. |
|Performance, PerformancePlus, Ultra, and UltraPlus optical tables are constructed using an interior stainless steel plate that is identical to the table's top and bottom plates. The third plate increases the stiffness of the optical table.|
|Mounting Holes||A vinyl film is used to seal the bottom of each mounting hole prior to thermally bonding the table together. This ensures that each hole is completely free from any adhesive material. When using a hole for the first time the vinyl film is easily punctured to allow the screw to be threaded deep into the table.|
|Prior to bonding the components of the table, each mounting hole in the top surface is tapped and slightly countersunk to ensure that components mounted to the table sit flat. The mounting holes are then cleaned and sealed on the bottom with a vinyl film (see above). As a result, cap screws can be finger tightened into the mounting holes of the finished optical tables.|
|Performance, PerformancePlus, Ultra, and UltraPlus optical tables have mounting hole cups that isolate each hole from the interior volume of the table, which makes cleaning up spills and recovering any small pieces that fall into the mounting holes easier.|
* The top plate, bottom plate, interior plate (if applicable), and sides of Thorlabs' tables are constructed from stainless steel because of its high Young's Modulus (stiffness) and inert properties. Other materials like plastic and wood are lighter and have superior damping properties but do not have the rigidity of steel. In addition, many of the less expensive substitutes to stainless steel degrade, have undesirable thermal expansion properties, or absorb water, which can result in the degradation of the optical table's performance over time or in certain environmental conditions.
|Maximum Dynamic Deflection Coefficient||<0.7 x 10-3|
|Maximum Relative Tabletop Motion||<0.14 nm (5.5 x 10-9 in.)|
|Deflection Under Load (Stiffness)||<1.5 μm (5.9 x 10-5 in.) for a 113 kg (250 lb) Load|
*Measured on a 4' x 8' x 12.2" (W x L x H) table with isolator transmissibility T<0.01 above 10 Hz, environmental vibrations PSD <10-9 g2/Hz.
Dynamic Deflection Coefficient
The dynamic deflection coefficient is a figure of merit for optical tables that is derived from the measurement of the optical table's compliance. Physically, the dynamic deflection coefficient can be interpreted as a measure of the tables motion when the table is subjected to vibrations.
where Q is the amplification of the tables response to a vibrational source at a specific frequency (f) of the optic table. Q is calculated by dividing the compliance at the optical table resonance frequency by the theoretical compliance of an ideal rigid body. The maximum dynamic deflection coefficient is usually due to the response of the optical table at its first natural resonance frequency. In the Performance, PerformancePlus, Ultra, and UltraPlus series of optical tables, proprietary tuned damping mechanisms are used to limit the value of Q at the tables natural resonances. (Note: The Ultra and UltraPlus series of optical tables have the best tuned damping system.)
Relative Tabletop Motion
The relative tabletop motion is the relative displacement of any two points on the optical table surface due to environmental vibrations transmitted through the optical table supports. The maximum relative tabletop motion is the worst case relative displacement; for a rectangular optical table the two points that produce the worst case results are generally located at the corners of the optical table. The measurement reported in the specifications table was taken in a quite laboratory environment (PSD <10-9 g2/Hz). The optical table supports used to support the optical table had a transmissibility less than 0.01 for frequencies greater than 10 Hz.
Deflection Under Load
The deflection under load is a measure of the stiffness of the optical table. The stiffness of an optical table can be quantified by placing a load at the center of the optical table and measuring the deflection of the optical table surface, which will have a parabolic shape. The specification reported in the table is the relative vertical displacement between the center and edge of the optical table.
Thorlabs' Performance series of optical tabletops provide an excellent stable platform for photonics research and product development. A cross section of a Performance series optical table is shown in Figure 1. Each Performance series optical table is constructed with three thermally matched (i.e., 5 mm thick magnetic stainless steel) plates, steel side walls, and an interior plated steel honeycomb structure. In addition, each mounting hole is isolated from the interior volume of the table by a steel cup.
Figure 1. Cross section of a Performance Series Optical Table
|Table thickness||210 mm (8.3")|
|Flatness||±0.1 mm (±0.004") Over Any 1 m2|
|Construction||Triple Plate, Double Honeycomb Core|
|Top and Bottom Plates||Matched Materials for Athermalized Design|
|Top and Bottom Plate Material||Magnetic Stainless Steel, 5 mm (3/16") Thick|
|Maximum Screw Depth||16 mm (5/8") from Table Surface|
|Core Construction||High-Density Plated Steel Honeycomb|
|Damping||Proprietary Broadband Damping|
|Side Construction||Black Laminated-Steel, Slightly Inset From Table Surface|
|Top Surface Finish||Brushed Steel|
Mounting Hole Specifications
|Mounting Hole Spacing||1/4"-20 Tapped Holes on 1" Centers||M6 Tapped Holes on 25 mm Centers|
|Distance from edge to first holes||3.3' Wide: 2.0" on Ends and 2.6" Along the Length of the Table|
4.1' wide: 2.0" on Ends and 2.6" Along the Length of the Table
4.9' wide: 2.0" on Ends and 2.5" Along the Length of the Table
|50 mm on all Sides|
Unpacked Imperial Table Weight
(L X W X H)
|PTQ11104||6' X 3.3' X 8.3"||599.66||272.00|
|PTQ11105||8' X 3.3' X 8.3"||789.25||358.00|
|PTQ11108||6' X 4.1' X 8.3"||736.34||334.00|
|PTQ11109||8' X 4.1' X 8.3"||967.83||439.00|
|PTQ11112||14' X 4.1' X 8.3"||1671.10||758.00|
|PTQ11113||8' X 4.9' X 8.3"||1148.61||521.00|
|PTQ11114||10' X 4.9' X 8.3"||1428.60||648.00|
Unpacked Metric Table Mass
|Item #||Dimensions (mm)|
(L X W X H)
|PTQ51504||2000 X 1000 X 210||296.00||652.57|
|PTQ51505||2500 X 1000 X 210||366.00||806.89|
|PTQ51506||3000 X 1000 X 210||437.00||963.42|
|PTQ51508||2000 X 1250 X 210||363.00||800.28|
|PTQ51509||2500 X 1250 X 210||450.00||992.08|
|PTQ51513||2500 X 1500 X 210||534.00||1177.27|
|PTQ51514||3000 X 1500 X 210||638.00||1406.55|
The table below can be used as a guide for selecting the proper table model. After selecting the model, only a few choices remain. Each optical table model is available in a range of sizes, both imperial and metric, to meet many application needs. The sizes range from 1 m x 2 m (3.3' x 6') to 1.5 m x 4.25 m (5' x 14'). In addition, custom sizes, joined configurations, laser ports, mounting for accessory shelves, black finish, double density hole grids, custom cutouts, custom hole patterns, and non-magnetic materials are easily accommodated. We can also provide special heights for any of our optical table supports. Ask a Thorlabs application engineer about custom options.
Optical Table and Optical Table Isolator Selection Guide
| ||Quiet Environmenta|
(PSD < 10-10 g2/Hz)
|Typical Laboratory Environmentb|
(PSD ~10-8 to 10-9 g2/Hz)
(PSD <10-7 g2/Hz)
Less Demanding Applications
• Pulsed Laser
• General Spectroscopy
• Multimode Fiber Coupling
|Standard, StandardPlus, Performance or PerformancePlus Series of Optical Tables with|
Rigid Optical Table Supports
|Performance or PerformancePlus Series of Optical Tables with Passive Optical Table Supports||Performance, PerformancePlus, Ultra, or UltraPlus Series of Optical Tables withActive Optical Table Supports|
General Applications in Photonics
• Raman Spectroscopy
• Micropositioning and Machining
|Performance or PerformancePlus Series of Optical Tables with Passive Optical Table Supports||Performance or PerformancePlus Series of Optical Tables with Active Optical Table Supports||Ultra or UltraPlus Series of Optical Tables with Active Optical Table Supports|
• Submicron Precision
• Phase Related
• Single Mode Fiber Alignment
|Performance, PerformancePlus, Ultra, or UltraPlus Series of Optical Table withActive Optical Table Supports||Performance, PerformancePlus, Ultra, or UltraPlus Series of Optical Tables with Active Optical Table Supports||Ultra or UltraPlus Series of Optical Tables with Active Optical Table Supports|
aThe lab floor consists of a subterranean slab in a remote environment.
b The lab is in the basement or ground floor of building.
cThe lab is on the upper floors of a building or near significant sources of vibrations.
Thorlabs' optical table series are organized by the thickness (strongly correlated with stiffness) and damping properties of the optical table.
Thorlabs makes optical tables that are either 8.3" or 12.2" thick, which is highly correlated with the Stiffness of the optical table. The Standard, Performance, and Ultra series of optical tables have high stiffness while the StandardPlus, PerformancePlus, and UltraPlus have enhanced stiffness. Stiffness can be quantified by considering the deflection of the optical table when subjected to a load. For example, when a 113 kg load is placed on the center of a PTM11109 (a 4' x 8' high stiffness, standard damping, tabletop, 8.3" thick), the table will bend by 4.1 µm (i.e., the tabletop will have a parabolic shape with the center being 4.1µm lower then the edges). A PTM12109 (a 4' x 8' enhanced stiffness, standard damping, tabletop, 12.2" thick) in the same example would deflect by only 1.8 µm.
Damping refers to the tabletop's ability to cause an oscillation to decay rapidly to zero when vibration (typically from instrumentation or acoustic noise) is introduced on the tabletop. Thorlabs offers three levels of damping: high (Standard and StandardPlus), enhanced (Performance and PerformancePlus), and maximum (Ultra and UltraPlus). They dynamic deflection coefficient and relative tabletop motion specifications found in the Specs tab are strongly correlated with damping properties of the optical table.