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4-Channel Fiber-Coupled Laser Source

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4-Channel Fiber-Coupled Laser Source

Item #MCLS1
Display Power Accuracy±10%
Current Set Point Resolution0.01 mA
Temperature Adjust Range20.00 to 30.00 °C
Temperature Set Point Resolution±0.01 °C
Noise<0.5% Typical (Source Dependent)
Rise/Fall Time<5 µs


  • 4 Laser Output Channels with FC/PC Connectors
  • Independent Temperature Control Gives High Temperature Stability
  • Low Noise Output
  • USB Interface
  • Low-Profile Package, 2.5" (64 mm) Tall
  • 25 Wavelengths Available (See Table Below for Details)

Thorlabs' 4-Channel, Fiber-Coupled, Customizable Laser Source provides easy coupling and simple control of laser-diode-driven fiber optics. The laser source is configured to accept a wide range of fiber-pigtailed laser diodes with discrete wavelengths in the spectral range from 405 - 1550 nm, in any combination. The laser source allows more than one channel to be turned on simultaneously; however, it is only possible to adjust the power output of one at a time from the front panel.

Each laser diode is operated from an independent, high-precision, low-noise, constant-current source and temperature control unit. An intuitive LCD interface allows the user to view and set the laser current and temperature independently for each laser. The display indicates the channel number selected, the output wavelength of the source, the operating power calculated from the laser diode monitor diode, and the actual temperature the laser is set to.

This device incorporates a microcontroller to fully control the laser's optical power and temperature as well as to monitor the system for fault conditions. The laser source includes a USB connection that allows remote enabling, power adjustment, and temperature adjustment. On the rear panel, analog inputs are available to modulate the laser diodes' outputs with an externally generated waveform. To prevent damage, the microcontroller will disable the output if the sum of the analog input and internal set point exceeds the laser limits.

While most output sources fall within the class 3R laser rating, the system was fully designed to meet laser class 3B requirements. There is an interlock located on the rear panel that must be shorted in order for any laser output to be enabled. This can easily be configured to be triggered by doors to disable the lasers in unsafe conditions. The power switch is a keylock system to prevent accidental or unwanted use. Each source has its own enable button allowing the user to choose the light source or sources he wishes to be active, as well as a master enable that must also be set. Each channel includes a green LED indicator to easily determine its current state. There is a 3 second delay before the lasers turn on, and the user is warned by the LED rapidly blinking. The laser must be turned off before connecting or disconnecting a fiber to the output ports, particularly for powers above 10 mW.

In the Box
The MCLS includes a universal power supply allowing operation over 100 - 240 VAC without the need for selecting the line voltage. The fuse access is conveniently located on the rear panel. This unit is supplied with a U.S. line cord as well as a standard European line cord, the pre-configured MCLS1 with all selected lasers installed, and the manual.

Below is a list of available lasers listed by wavelength and showing the corresponding minimum output power and pigtail fiber type. To discuss potential custom wavelengths and configurations not available below, please contact Technical Support. Please use the configurator below to select the pigtails and locations you would like. Note: An MCLS1 unit must be purchased with at least one pigtail installed. If you leave a channel blank, the unit will be shipped without a laser in that channel. Thorlabs will fill the empty slot at a later date if you desire. Please contact Tech Support prior to sending your unit back to us.

Item #Typical λWavelength RangeMinimum PowerTypical PowerLaser TypeFiber
MCLS1-405-30405 nm400 - 410 nm24 mW28 mWFabry-PerotS405-HP
MCLS1-406406 nm395 - 415 nm4 mW6 mWFabry-PerotS405-HP
MCLS1-473-20473 nm468 - 478 nm15 mW20 mWFabry-Perot460HP
MCLS1-488488 nm483 - 493 nm18 mW22 mWFabry-Perot460HP
MCLS1-520520 nm515 - 530 nm8.0 mW10.0 mWFabry-Perot460HP
MCLS1-635635 nm630 - 640 nm2.5 mW3.5 mWFabry-PerotSM600
MCLS1-638638 nm628 - 648 nm10 mW15 mWFabry-PerotSM600
MCLS1-642642 nm635 - 645 nm15 mW20 mWFabry-PerotSM600
MCLS1-658658 nm648 - 668 nm9.5 mW14 mWFabry-PerotSM600
MCLS1-660660 nm653 - 663 nm15 mW17 mWFabry-PerotSM600
MCLS1-670670 nm660 - 680 nm1.5 mW2.5 mWFabry-PerotSM600
MCLS1-670-4670 nm660 - 680 nm4 mW5 mWFabry-PerotSM600
MCLS1-685685 nm675 - 695 nm10 mW13.5 mWFabry-PerotSM600
MCLS1-705705 nm695 - 715 nm10 mW15 mWFabry-PerotSM600
MCLS1-730730 nm720 - 740 nm12.5 mW15.0 mWFabry-PerotSM600
MCLS1-785785 nm770 - 800 nm6 mW7.5 mWFabry-Perot780HP
MCLS1-785-25785 nm780 - 790 nm20 mW25 mWFabry-Perot780HP
MCLS1-808-20808 nm803 - 813 nm20 mW25 mWFabry-PerotSM800-5.6-125
MCLS1-830830 nm820 - 840 nm8 mW10 mWFabry-PerotSM800-5.6-125
MCLS1-850850 nm840 - 860 nm7.5 mW10.5 mWFabry-PerotSM800-5.6-125
MCLS1-850-MM850 nm847 - 857 nm45 mW50 mWFabry-PerotGIF625
MCLS1-852852 nm847 - 857 nm20 mW25 mWFabry-PerotSM800-5.6-125
MCLS1-905-20905 nm900 - 910 nm15 mW20 mWFabry-PerotSM800-5.6-125
MCLS1-940940 nm930 - 950 nm25 mW30 mWFabry-PerotSM800-5.6-125
MCLS1-980980 nm965 - 995 nm6 mW9 mWFabry-Perot980HP
MCLS1-980-20980 nm975 - 985 nm20 mW25 mWFabry-Perot980HP
MCLS1-10641064 nm1059 - 1069 nm20 mW25 mWFabry-PerotHI1060
MCLS1-13101310 nm1290 - 1330 nm2.5 mW3 mWFabry-PerotSMF-28e+
MCLS1-1310-151310 nm1290 - 1330 nm13.0 mW15.0 mWFabry-PerotSMF-28e+
MCLS1-1310DFB1310 nm1290 - 1330 nm1.5 mW2 mWDFBSMF-28e+
MCLS1-15501550 nm1520 - 1580 nm1.5 mW2 mWFabry-PerotSMF-28e+
MCLS1-1550-101550 nm1530 - 1570 nm8.0 mW10.0 mWFabry-PerotSMF-28e+
Performance Specifications
Display Power Accuracy±10%
Current Set Point Resolution0.01 mA
Laser Drive Current per Channel (Max)120 mA
Temperature Adjust Range20.00 to 30.00 °C
Temp Set Point Resolution±0.01 °C
Noise<0.5% Typical (Source Dependent)
Rise/Fall Time<5 µs
Modulation Input0 - 5 V = 0 - Full Power
Modulation Bandwidth80 kHz Full Depth of Modulation

Laser Warning Lable

General Specifications
AC Input100 - 240 VAC, 50 - 60 Hz
Input Power35 VA Max
Fuse Ratings250 mA
Fuse TypeIEC60127-2/III
(250V, Slow Blow Type 'T')
Fuse Size5 mm x 20 mm
Dimensions (W x H x D)12.6" x 2.5" x 10.6"
(320 mm x 64 mm x 269 mm)
Weight8.5 lbs (3.9 kg)
Operating Temperature15 to 35 °C
Storage Temperature0 to 50 °C
Connections and Controls
Interface ControlOptical Encoder with Pushbutton
Enable and Laser SelectKeypad Switch Enable with LED Indication
Power OnKey Switch
Fiber PortsFC/PC
DisplayLCD, 16x2 Alphanumeric Characters
Input Power ConnectionIEC Connector
Modulation Input ConnectorBNC (Referenced to Chassis)
Interlock2.5 mm Mono Phono Jack
Communications PortUSB 2.0
Com ConnectionUSB Type B connector
Required Cable2 m USB Type A to Type B Cable
(Replacement Part Number USB-A-79)

Viewing Information

Thorlabs' Multi-Channel Laser Source (MCLS) uses a single four quadrant LCD display to access the information for each output channel (see photo to the right for details). Rotate the control knob to the left of the display to scroll through the channels until the desired channel is selected. The control knob is also a select switch that allows access to the laser current and temperature parameters (see below for more information).

  • Top Left: Indicates the selected channel.
  • Top Right: Indicates the wavelength of the selected channel.
  • Bottom Left: Indicates the power level of the laser diode output. If disabled, the power level will read "0.00 mW." If the selected diode does not include a monitor diode, this will read "No PD."
  • Bottom Right: Indicates the actual temperature (in °C) that the laser is stabilized to. The default temperature is set to 25.00 °C and is user adjustable. The temperature control is always active and requires 5 to 10 minutes to properly stabilize.

Adjusting the Laser Output Power and Temperature

After selecting a channel, the output power and temperature of the selected laser can be adjusted. The control knob utilizes an intelligent speed control. Turning the knob slowly corresponds to fine adjustment while turning the knob quickly corresponds to coarse adjustment. The laser current adjustment translates to real-time adjustment of output power. The default setting upon first turning on the unit is output power fully off. Note that lasing occurs at the threshold current value, which is different for every source.

Once the desired channel is selected, the Laser Current and Temperature parameters can be adjusted by pressing the control knob in. Pressing in the knob once will select the Laser Current, pressing it a second time will select the Temperature Set Point, and pressing it a third time will revert back to the display mode and lock the selected parameters. The parameter to be adjusted is indicated with blinking text. The resolution is 0.1 mA for the current adjustment and 0.01 °C for the temperature adjustment.

Modulating the Laser Output

The Analog In input can be used to modulate the laser output or to set the laser output remotely using a 5 V power source. The 5 V maximum input corresponds to the maximum calibrated power of each channel. The resulting actual output power is dependent on the set current and operating temperature. In addition, in order to eliminate a dead zone in the power control knob, the output of the unit is offset to the threshold current of the coupled laser diode. Adjusting the knob below threshold will immediately set the current to 0.0 mA (i.e., Standby mode). Therefore, there are two modes of modulation available. Setting the control to "Standby" first allows the analog modulation to utilize the full 0 to 5 V input range. The drawback to this modulation mode is that a minimum voltage is needed to operate above the threshold current. The second mode is to adjust the control knob so that the laser is at or above threshold. The analog modulation voltage will be limited to less than 5 V, but a DC offset will not be required. This DC offset should be kept in mind when using the modulation input since it will limit the actual input voltage range.

Making the Safety Interlock Connections

The MCLS series of laser sources are equipped with a remote interlock connector located on the rear panel. All units have this feature regardless of their FDA and IEC classifications. In order to enable the MCLS source, a short circuit must be applied across the terminals of the Remote Interlock connector. In practice this connection is made available to allow the user to connect a remote-actuated switch to the connector (i.e., an open door indicator). The switch (which must be normally open) has to be closed in order for the unit to be enabled. Once the switch is in an open state, the MCLS source will automatically shut down. If the switch returns to a closed condition, the MCLS source must be re-enabled at the unit by pressing the "Master Enable" switch.

Interlock Connector
Interlock Mating Connector
Type of Mating Connector2.5 mm Mono Phono Jack
Open Circuit Voltage+5 VDC with Respect to Chassis Ground
Short Circuit Current~8 mA DC
Connector PolarityTip is +5 V, Barrel is Ground
Interlock Switch RequirementaMust be Normally Open Dry Contacts
  • Under no circumstances should any external voltages be applied to the Interlock input


Version 1.01

Includes drivers for operating the source via a USB connection.

Software Download

Laser Safety and Classification

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. 

Alignment Tools
Laser Barriers
Enclosure Systems
Blackout Materials
Laser Glasses
Laser Viewing Cards
Laser Safety Signs
Shutter and Controllers

Safe Practices and Light Safety Accessories

  • Thorlabs recommends the use of safety eyewear whenever working with laser beams with non-negligible powers (i.e., > Class 1) since metallic tools such as screwdrivers can accidentally redirect a beam.
  • Laser goggles designed for specific wavelengths should be clearly available near laser setups to protect the wearer from unintentional laser reflections.
  • Goggles are marked with the wavelength range over which protection is afforded and the minimum optical density within that range.
  • Laser Barriers and Blackout Materials can prevent direct or reflected light from leaving the experimental setup area.
  • Thorlabs' Enclosure Systems can be used to contain optical setups to isolate or minimize laser hazards.
  • A fiber-pigtailed laser should always be turned off before connecting it to or disconnecting it from another fiber, especially when the laser is at power levels above 10 mW.
  • All beams should be terminated at the edge of the table, and laboratory doors should be closed whenever a laser is in use.
  • Do not place laser beams at eye level.
  • Carry out experiments on an optical table such that all laser beams travel horizontally.
  • Remove unnecessary reflective items such as reflective jewelry (e.g., rings, watches, etc.) while working near the beam path.
  • Be aware that lenses and other optical devices may reflect a portion of the incident beam from the front or rear surface.
  • Operate a laser at the minimum power necessary for any operation.
  • If possible, reduce the output power of a laser during alignment procedures.
  • Use beam shutters and filters to reduce the beam power.
  • Post appropriate warning signs or labels near laser setups or rooms.
  • Use laser sign lightboxes if operating Class 3R or 4 lasers (i.e., lasers requiring the use of a safety interlock).
  • Do not use Laser Viewing Cards in place of a proper Laser Barrier or Beam Trap.


Laser Classification

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:

ClassDescriptionWarning Label
1This 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. Class 1
1MClass 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. Class 1M
2Class 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). Class 2
2MBecause 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. Class 2M
3RLasers 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. Class 3R
3BClass 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. Class 3B
4This 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. Class 4
All class 2 lasers (and higher) must display, in addition to the corresponding sign above, this triangular warning sign Warning Symbol
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Posted Comments:
Poster: cbrideau
Posted Date: 2014-04-04 18:01:53.923
Hey guys, my argon laser looks like it is about to quit and I am in the market for a replacement. The two lines we use are 488 and 457nm. I see 488 is standard, but do you offer 457, or 454nm as an option? I have seen a 454nm direct diode from other vendors and was wondering if Thor has access to this wavelength.
Poster: jvigroux
Posted Date: 2014-04-09 08:55:03.0
A resposne from Julien at Thorlabs: Thank you for your inquiry! The two wavelengths you mention could be efficiently covered using a 490nm and a 455nm. The current filters we use hwoever do not allow for simultaneous operation of those two wavelengths. In order to see if we could use another one, we would need to know all the wavelenths that would be needed in your configuration. I iwll contact you directly.
Poster: jlow
Posted Date: 2013-09-26 14:10:00.0
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: We will contact you directly to provide the laser class rating for your laser.
Poster: antony.galea
Posted Date: 2013-09-25 09:25:52.387
Dear Sir/Madam, I am required to complete a laser safety survey by my organization, in which I specify the class of all devices I work with. The MCLS1 is rated as a IIIB device however, it is stated that many of the sources are class IIIR, please specify which sources are considered class IIIR/B. In specific I am presently interested in the 473nm and 488nm sources. Thanks
Poster: sharrell
Posted Date: 2013-01-15 17:20:00.0
Response from Sean at Thorlabs: Thank you for your feedback. We have added a download page for this driver package:, as well as a new "Software" tab on this page with a link. We will also add this page to our dowload section located under the "Services" menu at the top of the page shortly.
Poster: ashaw
Posted Date: 2013-01-15 13:33:59.307
Hello, I can't find the CD containing the driver for my MCLS1. Is there a way to download the driver from the internet? Thanks
Poster: tcohen
Posted Date: 2012-07-10 14:42:00.0
Response from Tim at Thorlabs: The minimum power spec references the power that can be guaranteed in an individual unit being run at the operating current. The maximum power out will be the power achieved on the operating current of an individual unit and is best represented by our typical power specification. In this case, it would be 10.5mW.
Poster: lumz04
Posted Date: 2012-07-06 02:33:48.0
hi, for each channel of laser source, I got the parameter of "Minimum Power", for example Channel 1: MCLS1-850, ? = 850 7.5 mW SM800-5.6-125 Fabry-Perot, $385 So what is the Maximum power of this channel? Thanks.
Poster: tmorgus
Posted Date: 2011-11-23 15:59:00.0
Any chance of getting a 535nm or similar green line on this system? I know the green laser diodes have just become available, but it would be extremely useful for microscopy to have this line available on this unit. My dream system would be 404/488/535/638nm. These would match the wavelengths commonly used on confocal microscope systems.
Posted Date: 2011-11-23 15:56:21.0
Response from Tyler at Thorlabs: I think that this is a great idea and the only potential hurdle I can see is that availability of a green laser diode, which I need to check on. I will contact you to get more information about your application and the power requirements for the green channel. Thank you for providing us with this product idea.
Poster: cbrideau
Posted Date: 2011-11-22 17:54:13.0
Any chance of getting a 535nm or similar green line on this system? I know the green laser diodes have just become available, but it would be extremely useful for microscopy to have this line available on this unit. My dream system would be 404/488/535/638nm. These would match the wavelengths commonly used on confocal microscope systems.
Poster: bdada
Posted Date: 2011-10-26 00:22:00.0
Response from Buki at Thorlabs: Thank you for your feedback. We are working on getting this data and will update our website with additional data soon.
Poster: rhs
Posted Date: 2011-09-08 11:06:25.0
I would like to know the spectrum (or at the very least the linewidth) of the two 780 nm modules and of the 1064 nm module.
Poster: jjurado
Posted Date: 2011-08-01 09:58:00.0
Response from Javier at Thorlabs to md.hai: Thank you very much for contacting us! The linewidth of the laser diode used in the MCLS1-850 modules is 0.60 nm.
Poster: md.hai
Posted Date: 2011-07-29 17:27:15.0
What is the linewidth of the MCLS1-850 laser modules?
Poster: Thorlabs
Posted Date: 2010-11-30 09:11:53.0
Response from Javier at Thorlabs to kotov: There are a couple of options to consider. We could perhaps modify the firmware of the MCLS1 to integrate a trigger feature, or you could use a USB DAQ card with four analog outputs. You could provide the modulation signal this way and develop the trigger through your own application. I will contact you directly to discuss your requirements.
Poster: kotov
Posted Date: 2010-11-23 11:30:46.0
I would like to use MOD IN inputs and Ive tested manually with TTL pulse and attenuator the usable range of amplitude attenuation. But I would like to use a USB unit with one trigger input and 4 independent amplitude modulated outputs with time width of the input signal (USB controllable). Can you recommend me what device will work for me? USB is prefferable but Ethernet, RS232, RS485 devices can be used as well. What are limitations on the MOD IN signal pulse width?
Poster: steffen.michaelis
Posted Date: 2010-10-25 17:56:52.0
For the 4-ch fiber coupled laser source (MCLS1), is it possible to change a laser diode at a later date? Or add another channel if it is initially bought with 2-ch installed?
Poster: klee
Posted Date: 2009-12-09 14:50:05.0
A response from Ken at Thorlabs to moweirong: The highest guaranteed output power we can do is 8 mW for 658 nm and 10 mW for 785nm.
Poster: moweirong
Posted Date: 2009-12-09 14:03:12.0
Thanks, klee. Then is it possible to get a smaller optical power value around 660 nm and 780nm, like 10-20 mW?
Poster: klee
Posted Date: 2009-12-09 11:14:01.0
A response from Ken at Thorlabs to moweirong: The MCLS1 has laser pigtails inside and our typical coupling efficiency is 20%, meaning the output power at the fiber tip is only 20% of the power of the laser diode. Therefore, in order to have 30mW at the fiber output, we will need to use diodes with 150mW. Unfortunately, we do not have the laser diodes with such high power at the wavelengths that you are interested in.
Poster: moweirong
Posted Date: 2009-12-08 19:15:36.0
For this 4-ch fiber coupled laser source (MCLS1), is it possible to costomize the laser diodes so that the power at wavelength around 660 nm (or 658 nm) and 780 nm (or 785 nm) to be about 30 mW?
Poster: klee
Posted Date: 2009-09-15 12:51:29.0
A response from Ken at Thorlabs to dtmiller: You can have more than one channel turned on simultaneously. However, you can only adjust the power output one at a time. Please refer to Section 4 of the operating manual for details.
Poster: dtmiller
Posted Date: 2009-09-14 22:08:57.0
For the 4-channel fiber-coupled laser source (MCLS1), can two or more channels operate simultaneously?
Poster: cyryl.abidi
Posted Date: 2009-05-21 14:36:38.0
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