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Mid-IR Supercontinuum Laser

  • 1.3 - 4.5 μm Wavelength Coverage (7700 - 2200 cm-1)
  • >300 mW Average Output Power
  • Single-Mode, Collimated Output Beam
  • Low Noise: 0.025% (Typical)


Mid-IR Supercontinuum Laser

Numerical simulation of the non-linear processes used to generate the output of the SC4500 by propagation of a 2.1 µm, 100 fs, 10 nJ pulse through a dispersion-engineered InF3 fiber.

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Typical power spectral density as a function of wavelength. Please note that this is a sample spectrum and that small variations may occur from unit to unit. The fine structure seen around 2.7 μm is due to water and CO2 absorption in the beam path of the measurement setup. The sharp drop-off at 4.2 μm is also due to CO2 absorption. This spectrum was obtained without purging the laser cavity.
2017 Prism Award Winner
2017 Category of
Scientific Lasers
Key Specifications
Wavelength Range 1.3 - 4.5 μm (7700 - 2200 cm-1)
Output Power 300 mW (Minimum)
Mid-IR Output Power 110 mW (Minimum; 2.2 - 4.2 μm)
Output Power
±1% (Room Temperature ±1 °C)
Intensity Noise 0.025% (Typical; RMS; 10 Hz - 1 MHz)
Repetition Rate 50 MHz (Typical)
Beam Output Collimated; Single Spatial Mode
Dimensions 17.9" x 15.9" x 5.8"
(443.5 mm x 401.3 mm x 142.2 mm)


  • 300 mW Output Power Over Entire Bandwidth
  • >110 mW Output Power over 2.2 - 4.2 µm
  • 0.025% (Typical) Intensity Noise Enables Highly Sensitive Measurements
  • Robust All-Fiber Design for Hands-Off, Reliable Operation
  • Record-High Brightness Enables Remote and Standoff Detection
  • Compatible with Standard FTIR Spectrometers


  • Environmental Sensing
  • Standoff Detection of Chemical and Biological Threats
  • Absorption Spectroscopy with High Sensitivity
  • Infrared Spectromicroscopy
  • Ultrafast Spectroscopy
  • Femtosecond Pulse Generation in the Mid-IR

The SC4500 is the world's first commercially available femtosecond-laser-pumped Mid-IR Supercontinuum Laser Source. This supercontinuum laser emits over a wavelength range from approximately 1.3 μm to 4.5 μm (7700 cm-1 to 2200 cm-1) with >300 mW of average output power in a collimated beam. More than 110 mW of the output power is within the 2.2 - 4.2 µm (4500 cm-1 - 2400 cm-1) range, which overlaps with many gas absorption lines and other molecular signatures. The pulsed femtosecond oscillator driving the supercontinuum runs at a fixed repetition rate of 50 MHz. The brightness of the SC4500 laser exceeds traditional Globars and even synchrotron sources by orders of magnitude.

The laser cavity can be purged via a gas inlet located in the back panel of the laser head. A gas supply connected to this inlet can cause gas to flow through the internal beam path of the laser to reduce undesirable absorption lines in the environment. This gas supply should not be pressurized. The output port of the SC4500 includes a KF16 vacuum compatible flange which can be used to connect the output to other purge capable instruments or devices.

The supercontinuum light is generated by pumping a dispersion-engineered indium fluoride (InF3) fiber with a high-power femtosecond fiber laser. Unlike supercontinuum lasers pumped in the long-pulse regime (picoseconds to nanoseconds), the spectrum of a femtosecond-pumped source is stable from pulse to pulse. As a result, our supercontinuum laser provides a typical output noise of 0.025% (RMS; 10 Hz to 1 MHz), greatly aiding applications that require high-sensitivity detection.

High brightness and low output noise make the SC4500 the ideal laser for sensing and spectroscopy applications in the Mid-IR. Applications range from environmental sensing of greenhouse gases to standoff detection in the field to spectroscopy in the lab using standard FTIR spectrometers. In addition, this laser's shot-to-shot spectral stability allows it to be used as a source of femtosecond pulses in the Mid-IR by filtering the output through a bandpass filter. An all-fiber design with proprietary fluoride-to-silica fiber splices offers robust, reliable, and maintenance-free performance.

More details about our mid-IR supercontinuum laser are available from Salem R, Jiang Z, Liu D, et al., Opt. Express 2015 Nov 16; 23 (24): 30592 - 30602.

Click to Enlarge

Click Here for Raw Data
Typical power spectral density as a function of wavelength. Please note that this is a sample spectrum and that small variations may occur from unit to unit. The fine structure seen around 2.7 μm is due to water and CO2 absorption in the beam path of the measurement setup. The sharp drop-off at 4.2 μm is also due to CO2 absorption. This spectrum was obtained without purging the laser cavity.

Click to Enlarge

A sample measurement of the beam profile was taken at the center of the SC band (~2300 nm) using a bandpass filter with a 500 nm bandwidth. This image represents the result of a Gaussian fit which yields a 1/e2 beam diameter of 5.5 mm and a circularity of 97%.
Item # SC4500
Parameters Min Typical Max
Emission Center Wavelength 1.3 - 4.5 µm (7700 - 2200 cm-1)
Output Power (Full Emission Band) 300 mW - 500 mW
Mid-IR Output Power (2.2 - 4.2 μm)
110 mW - -
Output Power Stability
(Full Emission Band; Room Temperature ±1 °C)
- - ±1%
Intensity Noise (RMS; 10 Hz - 1 MHz) - 0.025% -
Repetition Rate 48 MHz 50 MHz 52 MHz
Output Beam Diameter (1/e2; Single Mode) - 5.5 mm -
Polarization Random
Electrical Requirements
Input Voltage 100 - 240 V
Frequency 50 - 60 Hz
Power Consumption 700 W (Max)
Environmental Requirements
Room Temperature Range 17 °C to 25 °C
Physical Specifications
Gas Purging Inlet Connection 0.25" (6.35 mm) Outer Diameter
Optical Output Connection KF10/KF16 Vacuum Flange
Dimensions (Laser Head) 17.92" x 15.89" x 5.84"
(455.2 mm x 403.5 mm x 148.2 mm)
Dimensions (Controller) 16.97" x 15.68" x 5.24"
(431.0 mm x 398.2 mm x 133.1 mm)

    Laser Warning Label Laser Warning Label

    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. 

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

    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.
    • 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 a laser sign with a lightbox 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 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:

    Class Description Warning Label
    1 This 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
    1M Class 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
    2 Class 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
    2M Because 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
    3R Lasers 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
    3B Class 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
    4 This 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

    Posted Comments:
    agoncharov  (posted 2017-10-28 20:50:38.837)
    please provide price and ordering information 202 478 8947 Alex
    tfrisch  (posted 2017-10-30 10:28:59.0)
    Hello, thank you for contacting Thorlabs. We will reach out to you with a quote.

    Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
    +1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available / Ships
    SC4500 Support Documentation
    SC4500Mid-IR Supercontinuum Laser, 1.3 to 4.5 μm
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