Pockels Cell Driver

  • 1000 V Differential Voltage Output
  • Rise Time: <1.2 μs
  • LCD Touch Screen or Remote Computer Control
  • Internal or External Signal Operation


Pockels Cell Driver

LCD Touch Screen

Related Items

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PCD1K Rise Time
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This graph shows the rise times for 200 V and 1000 V signals from the PCD1K driver when driving a 20 pF Pockels cell with the included CA3262 cables.
PDFA100X in Chassis
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The PCD1K Pockels cell driver connected to the PCT900 Pockels cell, which has been mounted using the C1513 kinematic V-clamp mount.


  • Up to 1000 V Differential Voltage
  • Rise Time: <1.2 μs
  • Amplifies Internal or External Input Signal and Offset
  • Touchscreen or Remote Computer Control
  • Included with the PCD1K Pockels Cell Driver:
  • Software Available for Download (See Software Tab for Details)

Thorlabs' PCD1K Pockels Cell Driver is a voltage amplifier designed to drive a Pockels cell up to 1000 V with a rise time <1.2 µs. It features a LCD touch screen and encoder, allowing for full functionality through a simple interface. The driver can operate with an internal or external input signal and offset. This driver is designed for use with Thorlabs' transverse Pockels cell.

The driver incorporates an internal frequency generator that can produce a square wave with frequencies up to 250 kHz, allowing it to function fully without any external signals or DC voltages. The touchscreen interface allows the user to adjust the amplitude, frequency, duty cycle, and DC offset. Full DC adjustment is available when the internal frequency generator is used. The driver can also be used to amplify an external voltage source, typically a square wave with a DC offset. The amplification of the external input signal and the DC offset can be controlled independently. See the Specs table for more information on input signal requirements. 

A voltage monitor output is provided to allow real-time monitoring of the high voltage (HV) output. The monitor has a scaling of 100:1 so that an output of 1000 V results in a 10 V monitor voltage. Since this is a differential signal, the monitor output is a bipolar ±5 V signal. Details on input and output signal connections can be found on the Front & Back Panels tab. 

For connecting to a lower voltage Pockels cell with a BNC connection, T4005 SHV Female to BNC Male Adapters can be used to convert connector types. To ensure a safe user connection, connect the BNC adapter to the Pockels cell BNC connection before attaching the SHV cable. Additional Safe High Voltage (SHV) Coaxial Cables are also available separately.

Safety Features
The output is provided differentially with a separate shielded positive and negative signal through SHV style connectors rated for 1 kV+. The shield is directly connected to the case and provides a completely enclosed high voltage path to prevent user access to potentially dangerous high voltage. These SHV outputs are located on the rear panel to limit user accessibility and keep SHV outputs away from low voltage signals. For added safety, a HV Enable button on the touchscreen must be pressed to connect the HV output to the output BNC. The output is automatically disabled each time the system is powered on.

Additionally, there is a safety interrupt that prevents the unit from working while the cover is open, though the user should not open the PCD1K driver as there are no user serviceable parts inside.

Computer Control
In addition to the touch screen control, the driver is fully configurable through USB control through either terminal commands, such as HyperTerminal, through a provided software application, or through software development kits (SDKs). See the Software tab to download the software. 

PCD1K Specifications
Bandwidth (Square Wave) 250 kHz
Output Voltage (Max) Differentiala 1000 V
Each Output to Chassisb ±500 V
Output Currentc 85 mA
Output Rise/Fall Timed (Click for Graph) <1.2 μs
Signal In BNCe Voltagef 5 Vpp
Range Options -5 V to 0 V, ±2.5 V, or 0 V to 5 V
Impedance 2 kΩ
Offset In BNCe Voltage 0 V to 5 V, DC
Impedance 10 kΩ
Monitor Out BNCe Voltage ±5 V
Max Load Current 10 mA
Min Load Impedance 500 Ω
Trigger Out BNCe Voltage 5 V TTL
Max Load Current 5 mA
Min Load Impedance 1 kΩ
Output Connector (Rear) SHV
USB Port Type USB 2.0 Type-B
Operating Temperature 15 °C - 35 °C
Storage Temperature 0 °C - 50 °C
AC Input 85 - 264 VAC, 50 - 60 Hz Switching Power Supply
AC Input Power 130 W
AC Input Fuse 1.0 A Type T Slow Blow
Display 3.5" TFT LCD Touchscreen
Size (L x W x H) 15.60" x 17.01" x 4.14"
(396.3 mm x 432.0 mm x 105.3 mm)
  • This is the max voltage as seen at the load, or Pockels cell, with both outputs connected. 
  • This is the voltage seen at each output connector with respect to the system chassis, or SHV shell.
  • The output is short circuit protected above output current limit. 
  • Actual rise/fall is dependent on load characteristics. Worst case test performed with 10' cable set (~ 30 pF/ft) and 10 pF Pockels cell at 1000 Vpp output.
  • The maximum USB and BNC cable length is 1.5 meters in order to avoid a susceptibility to RF interference according to IEC610000-4-3.
  • Input voltage range needs to be set through the LCD setting menu to one of the three range options listed.This setting can be found in the Signal Menu, using the Signal Sources drop down menu. 

PCD1K Typical Rise Time
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This graph shows the rise times for 200 V and 1000 V signals from the PCD1K driver when driving a 20 pF Pockels cell with the included CA3262 cables.

PCD1K Noise
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This graph shows the differential noise performance. The PCD1K driver was connected to a Pockels cell, driven with 0 V, and the noise was measured across the Pockels cell.

PCD1K Individual Output Channels
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This graph shows typical output voltage from each output channel of the PCD1K driver. Channel 1 is the positive output to system ground. Channel 2 is the negative output to system ground.

PCD1K Individual Output Channels
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This graph shows typical combined differential output from the PCD1K driver.

Front and Back Panel

PCD1K Front Panel
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Front Panel
Back Panel
Callout Description
1 USB 2.0 Type-B Port
2 High Voltage Output (SHV Female Connector)
3 High Voltage Output (SHV Female Connector)
4 Main Power Connection with Fuse Drawer
Front Panel
Callout Description
1 Main Power Toggle Button
2 Control Knob with LED Status Ring
3 Main Display
4 Signal In (BNC Female Connector)
5 Offset In (BNC Female Connector)
6 Monitor Out (BNC Female Connector)
7 Trigger Out (BNC Female Connector)
PCD1K Software
PCD1K Pockels Cell Driver Software Front Panel

A Windows®-based GUI application software is provided to the user to control the Pockels Cell Driver from a computer (not included). A Software Development Kit (SDK) also comes with the device for integration of the Pockels cell driver into the user's own applications.


Version 1.0.0

Click the button below to visit the PCD1K software page.

Software Download

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Pockels Cell Driver

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PCD1K Support Documentation
PCD1KCustomer Inspired! Pockels Cell Driver