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Nd:YAG Fiber Optic Isolators with SM Fiber (1064 nm)
Fiber isolators protect light sources from back reflections and signals that can cause intensity noise and optical damage. Optical isolators, also known as Faraday isolators, are magneto-optic devices that preferentially transmit light in the forward direction while absorbing or displacing light propagating in the reverse direction (see the schematic below). Please see the Isolator Tutorial tab for an explanation of the operating principles of a Faraday isolator.
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Isolator Schematic A polarization independent isolator. Light is deflected away from the input path and stopped by the housing. See the Isolator Tutorial tab for more information. Click the schematic to show polarization states.
Thorlabs' polarization-independent Nd:YAG isolators, sold on this page, are compatible with single mode (SM) fibers. In contrast, our polarization-dependent Nd:YAG isolators are designed to connect to polarization-maintaining (PM) fibers. Our high-power units are built using a specialized fiber end face process that increases the maximum power. There is 0.8 m to 1 m of fiber built in to each side of the isolator, and an arrow on the body indicates the transmission direction. In addition, each unit is tested before shipment to ensure compliance with our specifications and a complete test report comes with every serialized part.
Thorlabs also manufactures free-space isolators and fiber isolators designed for the infrared range. Please use the Selection Guide table above for more information. If you do not see an isolator that suits your application, please refer to the Custom Isolators tab for information on our build-to-order options, or contact Tech Support.
Optical Isolator Tutorial
An isolator's function is based on the Faraday Effect. In 1842, Michael Faraday discovered that the plane of polarized light rotates while transmitting through glass (or other materials) that is exposed to a magnetic field. The direction of rotation is dependent on the direction of the magnetic field and not on the direction of light propagation; thus, the rotation is non-reciprocal. The amount of rotation β equals V x B x d, where V, B, and d are as defined below.
Figure 1. Faraday Rotator's Effect on Linearly Polarized Light
β = V x B x d
V: the Verdet Constant, a property of the optical material, in radians/T • m.
B: the magnetic flux density in teslas.
d: the path length through the optical material in meters.
An optical isolator consists of an input polarizer, a Faraday rotator with magnet, and an output polarizer. The input polarizer works as a filter to allow only linearly polarized light into the Faraday rotator. The Faraday element rotates the input light's polarization by 45°, after which it exits through another linear polarizer. The output light is now rotated by 45° with respect to the input signal. In the reverse direction, the Faraday rotator continues to rotate the light's polarization in the same direction that it did in the forward direction so that the polarization of the light is now rotated 90° with respect to the input signal. This light's polarization is now perpendicular to the transmission axis of the input polarizer, and as a result, the energy is either reflected or absorbed depending on the type of polarizer.
Figure 2. A single-stage, polarization-dependent isolator. Light propagating in the reverse direction is rejected by the input polarizer.
The Forward Mode
In a dual-stage isolator, the light exiting the output polarizer is sent through a second Faraday rotator followed by an additional polarizer in order to achieve greater isolation than a single-stage isolator.
The Reverse Mode
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Figure 3. A single-stage, polarization-independent isolator. Light is deflected away from the input path and stopped by the housing.
Polarization-Independent Fiber Isolators
The Forward Mode
In a dual-stage isolator, the light then travels through an additional Faraday rotator, half-wave plate, and birefringent beam displacer before reaching the output collimating lens. This achieves greater isolation than the single-stage design.
The Reverse Mode
Figure 4. Pulse Dispersion Measurements Before and After an IO-5-780-HP Isolator
τ: Pulse Width Before Isolator
τ(z): Pulse Width After Isolator
Click to Enlarge
Custom Isolator Example
Custom Adjustable Narrowband Isolator with Different Input and Output Polarizers Optimized for 650 nm Wavelength and 40 °C Temperature.
OEM Application Services
OEM and Non-Standard Isolators
In an effort to provide the best possible service to our customers, Thorlabs has made a commitment to ship our most popular free-space and fiber isolator models from stock. We currently offer same-day shipping on more than 90 isolator models. In addition to these stock models, non-stock isolators with differing aperture sizes, wavelength ranges, package sizes, and polarizers are available. In addition, we can create isolators tuned for specific operating temperatures and isolators that incorporate thermistors with heating or cooling elements for active temperature control and monitoring. These generally have the same price as a similar stock unit. If you would like a quote on a non-stock isolator, please fill out the form below and a member of our staff will be in contact with you.
Thorlabs has many years of experience working with OEM, government, and research customers, allowing us to tailor your isolator to specific design requirements. In addition to customizing our isolators (see the OEM Application Services list to the right), we also offer various application services.
We are able to provide a wide range of flexibility in manufacturing non-stock, free-space isolators. Almost any selection of specifications from our standard product line can be combined to suit a particular need. The table to the right shows the range of specifications that we can meet.
We offer isolators suitable for both narrowband and broadband applications. The size of the housing is very dependent on the desired maximum power and aperture size, so please include a note in the quote form below if you have special requirements.
We offer Faraday rotators center wavelengths from 532 nm to 1550 nm. These are the same components used to make our isolators and rotate the polarization of incoming light by 45°. Please contact Tech Support if you require a faraday rotator with a rotation angle or center wavelength outside of the aforementioned specifications.
Thorlabs is uniquely positioned to draw on experience in classical optics, fiber coupling, and isolators to provide flexible designs for a wide range of fiber optic specifications. Current design efforts are focused on increasing the Maximum power of our fiber isolators at and near the 1064 nm wavelength. We offer models with integrated ASE filters and taps. The table to the right highlights the range of specifications that we can meet.
The fiber used is often the limiting factor in determining the Maximum power the isolator can handle. We have experience working with single mode (SM) and polarization-maintaining fibers (PM); single-, double- and triple-clad fibers; and specialty fibers like 10-to-30 µm LMA fibers and PM LMA fibers. For more information about the fiber options available with our custom isolators, please see the expandable tables below.
In the spectral region below 633 nm, we recommend mounting one of our free-space isolators in a FiberBench system. A FiberBench system consists of pre-designed modules that make it easy to use free-space optical elements with a fiber optic system while maintaining excellent coupling efficiency. Upon request, we can provide select stock isolators in an optic mount with twin steel dowel pins for our FiberBench systems, as shown to the left.
We are also in the process of extending our fiber isolator capabilities down into the visible region. For more information, please contact Technical Support.
Custom Fiber Isolator
Custom Free-Space Isolator for Wavelengths Below 633 nm
Click to Enlarge
Twin Steel Pins Insert into FiberBench
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Make to Order Options
The expandable tables below provide information on some common isolator and rotator specials we have manufactured in the past. We keep the majority of the components for these custom isolators in stock to ensure quick builds, so these specials are available with an average lead time of only 2-4 weeks. Please use the Non-Stock Isolator Worksheet below for a quote.
Request a custom isolator quote using the form below or by contacting us for more information at (973) 300-3000.
The IOK-1064-LMA25 is a fiber-to-free-space isolator for high-power applications in the 1064 nm range. Using our experience in high-power fiber manufacturing, this isolator has been fabricated to withstand CW laser powers up to 30 W. This isolator has the added benefit that a red alignment laser with transmission in the 633 to 690 nm range can be coupled into the LMA25 fiber prior to entering the isolator. This aiming feature is extremely useful when working with a free-space IR beam.
Mounting holes on the output port allow components such as beam expanders to be attached. Without a beam expander, a Ø0.5 mm collimated beam will exit the isolator centered on the body with a divergence of 3 to 4 mrad.