Supercontinuum Generation Kit
- Spectrally Broaden Femtosecond Pulses Centered Around 800 nm
- Broadband Output Spectrum from Visible to NIR
- Custom Options Available
Dispersed Supercontinuum Output
Supercontinuum Generation Kit, Imperial
Breadboard, Screws and Washers for Mounting to Breadboard, and Half-Wave Plates Sold Separately
Click to Enlarge
Schematic of the Supercontinuum Generation Kit
Build Your Kit
- Choose a Base Kit (Imperial or Metric)
- Choose a Pair of Half-Wave Plates Suitable to the Wavelength Range of your Pump Laser
- Optional accessories include optical isolators and chirped mirrors. See the Kit Customization tab for details.
- Custom Modifications Available by Contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Thorlabs' Supercontinuum Generation Kit uses a highly nonlinear photonic crystal fiber to spectrally broaden femtosecond pulses near 800 nm. The SCKB2(/M) kit produces an output beam that combines the high power and spatial coherence of a laser with the broad visible-to-NIR spectrum of an incandescent source.
The SCKB2(/M) kit consists of preselected, proven parts that allow the user to quickly build a setup and create a supercontinuum spectrum. The kit components are shipped unassembled; see the Kit Components tab for a complete list of included parts. Due to this modular nature, the supercontinuum kits may be easily customized to a particular application by adding or replacing components. For examples, please see the Kit Customization tab above.
Additionally, the periscope assembly allows the beam height of the pump source to be matched to the height of the kit's optical axis. Input heights up to 4.6" (114 mm) relative to the breadboard mounting surface can be accepted by the periscope. Custom spacers for popular lasers are available by contacting email@example.com.
When pumped with Thorlabs' TIBERIUS or OCTAVIUS-85M-HP Ti:Sapphire lasers, or Menlo Systems' C-FIBER-780-HIGH-POWER or ELMO-780-HIGH-POWER, the SCKB2(/M) produces a smooth, stable output and even intensity over a broad range of visible and NIR wavelengths. If a tunable Ti:Sapphire laser is used, the shape and intensity of the spectral output will vary as a function of the peak power, pulse width, and center wavelength of the pump. This enables the production of qualitatively different spectra. Performance plots using several lasers are shown in the Graphs tab above. For advice on the choice of pump laser, we invite you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Depending on the spectral distance from the zero-dispersion wavelength of the fiber (760 nm), a variety of nonlinear effects are responsible for the creation of the supercontinuum spectrum. These effects include self-phase modulation, Raman scattering, soliton fission, and four-wave mixing. Please refer to J.M. Dudley, G. Genty, S. Coen. "Supercontinuum generation in photonic crystal fiber" Rev. Mod. Phys. 78, 1135 (2006) for a review of these effects in photonic crystal fibers.
Supercontinuum Generation with a Fixed-Wavelength Laser
The graph below shows results obtained using an OCTAVIUS-85M-HP Ti:Sapphire laser to pump the SCKB2(/M) kit. The laser parameters are given in the table to the right of the graph. The very large bandwidth of the pump laser causes the spectrum to extend from prominent peaks in the visible to 1600 nm and beyond, without a sharp intensity drop-off. In general, the output spectrum will depend upon the peak power, pulse width, and the center wavelength of the pump laser used.
Click to Enlarge
See the table to the right for the pump laser item # and parameters used.
The very large bandwidth of the pump laser causes the supercontinuum
spectrum to extend to 1600 nm and beyond with minimal intensity roll-off.
Click here to download the raw data for all spectra.
|Power Before Fiber Cell
|Power After Fiber Cell
Supercontinuum Generation with a Tunable Laser
The spectral output of the SCKB2(/M) Supercontinuum Generation Kit can be tuned by changing the wavelength of the input light. The zero-dispersion wavelength (ZDW) of the kit's fiber module is 760 nm, which allows Ti:Sapphire lasers to pump above and below the ZDW, accessing qualitatively different spectra.
The following spectra were taken using a Coherent Chameleon Ultra II laser as the pump source. The results were collected by dispersing the light with a prism and then translating a slit and calibrated detector across the dispersed beam to measure the intensity across the spectrum. The data shows how the supercontinuum spectrum varies with input wavelength. Similar data can be obtained using Thorlabs' TIBERIUS tunable Ti:Sapphire laser.
We thank Rupert Oulton and his group at Imperial College London for providing us with these results.
|Supercontinuum Kit Components
Expand the Tables Below to See the List of Components for Each Numbered Subassembly
|2. Half-Wave Plate Mounts
|3. Polarizing Beam Splitter Cube
|4. Beam Block
|5. Steering Mirrors
|6. Lenses and 3-Axis Stages
|7. PCF Supercontinuum Fiber Module
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Schematic of the Supercontinuum Generation Kit with
Optional Components Highlighted
Kit Customization Examples
The Supercontinuum Generation Kit may be modified to fit the demands of a particular application thanks to its modular design that uses items compatible with Thorlabs' stock components.
For example, additional components can be added to the kit such as an optical isolator for feedback prevention, aspheric lenses for a particular wavelength of light, or chirped mirrors to compensate for pulse broadening from upstream components, as shown in the image to the right.
For Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering (CARS) applications, the standard nonlinear fiber cell can be replaced with a specialized cell featuring two zero-dispersion wavelengths. Pump light between the two zero-dispersion wavelengths is converted into two distinct spectral peaks, one in the visible range and one in the NIR. A graph of a spectrum produced with a CARS fiber cell can be seen below.
If a different nonlinear fiber is required for the intended supercontinuum application, the standard fiber cell mounts can be replaced with fiber clamps to allow the kit to be used with bare fibers. The image to the right shows an SCKB2 kit equipped with an HFF001 Quick-Release Adjustable Fiber Clamp and an HFF003 Simplifed Fiber Clamp, each with an AMA093 height adjuster shims. One style of fiber clamp or the other can be used to hold either end of a bare fiber.
For more information on these and other customization options, please contact us at email@example.com.
Click to Enlarge
Supercontinuum Spectrum Generated Using a Custom Kit With a CARS Cell
Click Here to Download Raw Data
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Tiberius Femtosecond Laser
Lasers from Thorlabs and Strategic Partners
The supercontinuum generation kits may also be ordered as a package that includes a femtosecond laser. Options include the TIBERIUS and OCTAVIUS-85M-HP femtosecond lasers, manufactured by Thorlabs, as well as C-FIBER-780-HIGH-POWER and ELMO-780-HIGH-POWER femtosecond lasers from our strategic partner, Menlo Systems. Selected laser specifications are given in the table below; for full details, please see that laser's full web presentation.
For more details or to receive quotes on a complete supercontinuum system, pre-assembly services, or installation services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Average Output Power
|>2.3 W @ 800 nm
|77 MHz (Nominal)
- A Complete Supercontinuum System Consists of:
- A Supercontinuum Generation Kit
- A Pump Laser
- Two Half-Wave Plates (See Below for a Selection)
- Custom Modifications Available; See Kit Customization Tab for Details
This kit consists of individual parts that can be quickly assembled to produce a supercontinuum generation setup. The assembled kit can convert near-infrared femtosecond pulses into a highly broadband, high-coherence output beam, with characteristics that can be tuned by adjusting the center wavelength, pulse width, or input power of the pump laser. See the manual for assembly instructions and operation guidelines.
This kit should be constructed on an optical table or breadboard, and requires at least 6" x 24" (150 mm x 450 mm) of available space. An MB624 (MB1545/M) breadboard is recommended for standalone construction. Thirteen 1/4"-20 (M6) cap screws and washers are required to mount the kit components to the breadboard or optical table. Cap screws and washers can be purchased separately as a SH25S063 (SH6MS16) set of 25 cap screws and a W25S050 set of 100 washers, or together as part of our HW-KIT2(/M) cap screw and hardware kit.
- Two Half-Wave Plates Are Required for a Complete Supercontinuum System
- Zero-Order and Achromatic Wave Plates Available
Two half-wave plates are needed in order to adjust the input power to the fiber cell of the supercontinuum kit, and to match the cell input polarization. Wave plates should be chosen based on the center wavelength and bandwidth of the laser being used with the kit, in order to ensure that the pulse is effectively coupled into the fiber.
Because of the large bandwidth of many femtosecond pump lasers, a zero-order wave plate may not efficiently couple the full bandwidth into the fiber because of variations in the retardance with changing wavelength. In such a case, the pulse width in the fiber will be increased and the nonlinear supercontinuum processes may be less efficient.
Using an AHWP05M-980 or another achromatic wave plate will improve the uniformity of coupling into the fiber, but the additional dispersion from passing through a thicker optic may also cause undesirable pulse lengthening.
Each of these wave plates is mounted in a Ø1" housing that is compatible with the CRM1T(/M) mounts included in the base kit. Optical performance specifications can be seen by clicking the blue info icons () in the table to the right.
If none of the wave plates below meet the requirements for your laser and application, please see our full selection of wave plates.
|Please Note: Due to continuing high demand, Item #s not currently available have an anticipated lead time of ~10 weeks (zero-order wave plates) or ~14 weeks (achromatic wave plates). The expansion of our production capacity is underway as we continue to bring new equipment online. This note will be updated as appropriate based on our progress.