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Modular Multi-Port Integrating Spheres


  • Ø100 mm Integrating Sphere of Durable, Highly Reflective Sintered Optical PTFE
  • Modular Design Offered as Two Pre-Configured Versions or Custom Configurations
  • Up to Four Ø14 mm Dual, Ø1", or Ø2" Port Inserts
  • Up to Eight Ø5 mm Ports

4P4

Reflection Measurement
Integrating Sphere

Back View

Front View

Interchangeable Port Inserts for Modular Faces

4P10

4P11

4P12

4P13

Related Items


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Compatible Mounted Photodiodes
Sensor Type Wavelength Range Photodiodes
GaP 150 - 550 nm SM05PD7Aa
Si 200 - 1100 nm SM1PD2A
Si 350 - 1100 nm SM1PD1A
SM1PD1B
InGaAs 800 - 1700 nm SM05PD5Aa
Ge 800 - 1800 nm SM05PD6Aa
  • Should be used with an SM1A6 SM05-to-SM1 thread adapter.
4-Modular-Face Integrating Sphere Labeled
Click to Enlarge

4P4 Sphere Major Design Features

Features

  • Ø100 mm Inner Diameter in Modular, Cuboctahedral Housing
  • Pre-Configured and Custom-Configured Integrating Spheres
  • 3 or 4 Modular Faces with Interchangeable Port Inserts
    • Inserts Offered Are Ø14 mm Dual Ports, Ø1" Port, Ø2" Port, or Port Plug
  • Up to 8 Ø5 mm Ports with SM1 Threading
    • Directly Connect Our SM1 Photodiodes (See Table to the Right)
    • Mount Fiber-Coupled Light Sources using SM1 Fiber Adapters
  • Durable, White, Highly Reflective Sphere Material
  • Operating Range: 250 - 2500 nm (Unless Limited by the Detector)
  • Universal 8-32 / M4 Tap on Side Panels for Rail System (Included with Stock Items) or Mounting to Ø1" Posts

Thorlabs' Modular Integrating Spheres each provide a durable, highly reflective surface to optimally diffuse light. The sphere is constructed inside a cuboctahedral (fourteen-sided) housing that can be configured for a wide variety of applications. Each of the eight triangular faces can support a Ø5 mm port with SM1 internal threads, enabling easy mounting of our mounted photodiodes or fiber-coupled components such as LEDs or spectrometers (SM1 adapters may be needed). Either three or four of the square faces can be configured with inserts selected by the user as described in the Modularity section below. The two faces that are not modular provide a universal 8-32 / M4 tapped hole, allowing mounting to the 25 mm rail system stand (included with stock items) or a Ø1" post. These integrating spheres are available from stock as one of two pre-set configurations or ordered as a custom configuration using the tool below.

The spheres are manufactured from PTFE-based bulk material that has high reflectance in the 250 - 2500 nm wavelength range (see Specs tab) and is resistant to heat, humidity, and high levels of radiation. This reflective surface is designed to have specific roughness and diffusive reflection properties and should not be cleaned using solvents, as this could damage the inner surface. We only recommend using compressed air for cleaning the inner surfaces of the integrating spheres.

Integrating spheres enable high sensitivity measurements of optical signals in a variety of setups. An integrating sphere causes the incoming radiation to undergo multiple reflections over the sphere surface, which diffuses and depolarizes the light beam. This makes it the ideal instrument for many applications such as laser power, flux, reflectance and radiance measurements, as well as creating a uniform light source for camera calibration.

Modularity
These integrating spheres come with either three or four modular faces. Each modular face accepts one of four interchangeable Port Inserts, available below with a variety of port sizes, SM threading options, and tapped holes for cage system compatibility. Spheres available from stock are pre-configured for common applications and include a preset selection of port inserts and two fixed Ø5 mm ports. Custom-configured spheres allow the user to choose the inserts and up to eight fixed Ø5 mm ports.

Any of the inserts in the modular faces can be swapped for other interchangeable port inserts, including additional inserts sold separately below. The inserts are each fastened by two M3 screws; to exchange the included inserts with other inserts, loosen the screws using a 2 mm (5/64") hex key or balldriver. Custom inserts may be available for applications not served by the inserts available from stock. Contact Tech Support for more information.

Calibration
Thorlabs can calibrate integrating spheres with user-selected sensors upon request and provide the pertinent NIST- and/or PTB-traceable certificates of calibration. Contact Tech Support for more information.

Example Applications

Light Measurement
For light measurement, an incoherent light source input through the Ø1" port on the left in the diagram below mostly reflects off the completely closed portion of the sphere opposite the port. Using a 4P3 sphere with three modular faces reduces the probability of primary reflections occurring along a seam. One of the Ø5 mm ports can be used for a detector to measure radiant flux, while the other can be used for a spectrometer.

Reflection Measurement
The 4P4 sphere used in this application is outfitted with dual Ø14 mm ports, with a light source connected to one port and a detector to the other. A sample is mounted in an SM1L05 lens tube is threaded into the opposing Ø1" port. The dual ports are designed with an 8° geometry so that light input through the first port will reflect off the sample on the right, and the direct reflection can be detected from the second port. Indirect reflectance can be measured with a detector placed in one of the fixed Ø5 mm ports.

Homogeneous Light Source
For this application, a sphere with three modular faces is used. Two of the faces are closed using 4P10 port plug inserts, and the third has a 4P12 Ø2" aperture port insert. Two fiber-coupled LEDs are mounted into the Ø5 mm fixed ports; red and blue light are used for the purposes of this illustration, but both sources may be the same wavelength. The red and blue input light diffuse evenly around the sphere, resulting in homogeneous combined output illumination, shown as the purple output below. The resulting homogeneous illumination is useful for applications such as camera calibration.

3-Port Integrating Sphere Light Measurement Application
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Light Measurement with 4P3 Pre-Configured Sphere

4-Port Integrating Sphere Reflection Measurement Application
Click to Enlarge

Reflection Measurement with 4P4 Pre-Configured Sphere

3-Port Integrating Sphere Light Source Application
Click to Enlarge

Homogeneous Light Source with 4P3-CUSTOM Sphere

Item # 4P3 4P4 Custom
Inner Sphere Diameter 100 mm (3.94")
# of Modular Faces 3 4 3 or 4
Interchangeable Port Inserts Ø1" Port (4P11)
Two Port Plugs (4P10)
Ø1" Port (4P11)
Dual Ø14 mm Ports(4P13)
Two Port Plugs (4P10)
User-Selectablea
Fixed Ports Two Ø5 mm Ports, SM1-Threaded Up to 8, User-Selectablea
Maximum Reflectance >95% @ 250 nm - 2500 nm
>99% @ 350 nm - 1500 nm
Wavelength Range 250 nm to 2500 nm
Operating Temperature -20 °C to 60 °C
Operating Humidity 5% to 95%
Weight of Unmounted Sphere 2460 g 2505 g 2170 gb
Dimensions of Unmounted Sphere
(L x W x H)
134.2 mm x 150.0 mm x 134.2 mm
(5.28" x 5.91" x 5.28")
Weight of Mounted Sphere 3340 g 3385 g 3050 gb
Dimensions of Sphere Mounted 
to Rail System Standc (L x W x H)
163.0 mm x 205.4 mm x 226.3 mm
(6.42" x 8.09" x 8.91")
  • Custom spheres are available with customer-selected ports using the custom configurator below.
  • Without any inserts installed; final weight is dependent on the selections made in the configurator below.
  • A stand is included with each of the pre-configured modular integrating spheres, and is available as an optional accessory when ordering a custom version using the tool below.
PTFE Reflectivity
Click to Enlarge

Integrating Sphere Material Reflectance

Ultraviolet and Blue Fluorescence Emitted by Integrating Spheres

Generalized Spectral Fluorescence Output from PTFE Integrating Spheres
Click to Enlarge

Typical yields at each wavelength are around four orders of magnitude lower than the excitation wavelength. [4]

The spectral fluorescence yield relates the intensity of the fluorescence emitted within the integrating sphere with the intensity of the excitation wavelength. The yield is calculated by dividing the wavelength-dependent, total fluorescence excited over the entire interior surface of the sphere by the intensity of the light excitation.

Data were kindly provided by Dr. Ping-Shine Shaw, Physics Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, USA.

A material of choice for coating the light-diffusing cavities of integrating spheres is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This material, which is white in appearance, is favored for reasons including its high, flat reflectance over a wide range of wavelengths (see the Specs tab for details) and chemical inertness. However, it should be noted that integrating spheres coated with PTFE emit low levels of ultraviolet (UV) and blue fluorescence when irradiated by UV light. Spheres coated with barium sulfate, which is an alternative coating with lower reflectance, also fluoresce in this wavelength range. [1-3]

Hydrocarbons in the Coatings Fluoresce
It is not the PTFE or barium sulfate that fluoresces. The sources of the UV and blue fluorescence are hydrocarbons in the coating. Low levels of hydrocarbon impurities are present in the raw coating material, and pollution sources deposit additional hydrocarbon contaminants in the coating material of the integrating sphere during its use and storage. [1]

Fluorescence Wavelength Bands and Strength
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have investigated the fluorescence excited by illuminating PTFE-coated integrating spheres. The total fluorescence output by the integrating sphere was measured with respect to fluorescence wavelength and excitation wavelength. The maximum fluorescence was approximately four orders of magnitude lower than the intensity of the exciting radiation.

The UV and blue fluorescence from PTFE is primarily excited by incident wavelengths in a 200 nm to 300 nm absorption band. The fluorescence is emitted in the 250 nm to 400 nm wavelength range, as shown by the figure to the right. These data indicate that increasing the excitation wavelength decreases the fluorescence emitted at lower wavelengths and changes the shape of the fluorescence spectrum.

As the levels of hydrocarbon contaminants in the PTFE increase, fluorescence increases. A related effect is a decrease of the light output by the integrating sphere over the absorption band wavelengths, due to more light from this spectral region being absorbed. [1, 3]

Impact on Applications
The UV and blue fluorescence from the PTFE has negligible effect on many applications, since the intensity of the fluorescence is low and primarily excited by incident wavelengths <300 nm. Applications sensitive to this fluorescence include long-term measurements of UV radiation throughput, UV source calibration, establishing UV reflectance standards, and performing some UV remote sensing tasks. [1]

Minimizing Fluorescence Effects
Minimizing and stabilizing the fluorescence levels requires isolating the integrating sphere from all sources of hydrocarbons, including gasoline- and diesel-burning engine exhaust and organic solvents, such as naphthalene and toluene. It should be noted that, while hydrocarbon contamination can be minimized and reduced, it cannot be eliminated. [1]

Since the history of each integrating sphere's exposure to hydrocarbon contaminants is unique, it is not possible to predict the response of a particular sphere to incident radiation. When an application is negatively impacted by the fluorescence, calibration of the integrating sphere is recommended. In [4], the authors describe a calibration procedure that requires a light source with a well-known spectrum that extends across the wavelength region of interest, such as a deuterium lamp or synchrotron radiation, a monochromator, a detector, and the integrating sphere.

References
[1] Ping-Shine Shaw, Zhigang Li, Uwe Arp, and Keith R. Lykke, "Ultraviolet characterization of integrating spheres," Appl.Opt. 46, 5119-5128 (2007).
[2] Jan Valenta, "Photoluminescence of the integrating sphere walls, its influence on the absolute quantum yield measurements and correction methods," AIP Advances 8, 102123 (2018).
[3] Robert D. Saunders and William R. Ott, "Spectral irradiance measurements: effect of UV-produced fluorescence in integrating spheres," Appl. Opt. 15, 827-828 (1976).
[4] Ping-Shine Shaw, Uwe Arp, and Keith R. Lykke, "Measurement of the ultraviolet-induced fluorescence yield from integrating spheres," Metrologia 46, S191 - S196 (2009).


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Pre-Configured Integrating Spheres

  • 4P3: Pre-Configured for Light Measurement
  • 4P4: Pre-Configured for Reflection Measurement
  • XE25 Rail System Stand Included

The 4P3 sphere is pre-configured for light measurement, designed so that the sphere is continuous opposite the Ø1" port that would be used for a light source. This reduces the probability of primary reflections occurring on a seam around a port plug. 

The 4P4 sphere is pre-configured for reflection measurements, as shown in the middle diagram above. An SM1-threaded, Ø1" port insert allows samples in SM1-threaded mounts (for example, an SM1L05 lens tube) to be positioned opposite a light source. Two Ø14 mm ports on the opposing face are designed with an 8° geometry so that light input to one Ø14 mm port will reflect off the sample in the Ø1" port, allowing the direct reflection to be detected from the second Ø14 mm port. Indirect reflectance can be detected using one of the two fixed Ø5 mm ports.

These spheres are shipped pre-mounted to the included rail system stand with M4 cap screws. To unmount the sphere, the screws can be removed using a 3 mm hex key or balldriver. The interchangeable port inserts are each fastened by two M3 screws; to exchange the default inserts with other inserts, loosen the screws using a 2 mm (5/64") hex key or balldriver.

Item # # of Modular Faces Interchangeable Port Inserts Application Example Fixed Ports Sphere Size Maximum Reflectance
4P3 3 Ø1" Port (4P11)
Two Port Plugs (4P10)
4P3 Application Diagram Two Ø5 mm Ports,
SM1-Threaded
Ø100 mm
(Ø3.94")
>95% @ 250 nm - 2500 nm
>99% @ 350 nm - 1500 nm
4P4 4 Ø1" Port (4P11)
Dual Ø14 mm Ports (4P13)
Two Port Plugs (4P10)
4P4 Application Diagram
Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
4P3 Support Documentation
4P3NEW!Ø100 mm Integrating Sphere with 3 Modular Faces, Light Measurement Configuration
$2,800.00
Today
4P4 Support Documentation
4P4NEW!Ø100 mm Integrating Sphere with 4 Modular Faces, Reflection Measurement Configuration
$3,050.00
Today

Interchangeable Port Inserts

Sphere-Side of Dual Port Insert
Click to Enlarge
Interior Side of 4P13 Insert

These easily interchangeable port inserts are designed for use with Thorlabs Ø100 mm Modular Integrating Spheres. Two included M3 screws secure each insert to the sphere, allowing the insert of any modular face to be swapped out using a 2 mm (5/64") hex ball driver. The sphere-facing sides of the 4P10, 4P11, and 4P13 inserts have the same radius of curvature and are engineered with the same highly reflective bulk material as the rest of the sphere, minimizing losses from changes in geometry. The 4P12 insert does not have any bulk material in its design as the aperture is closely matched with the hole in the integrating sphere for the modular face.

Dust caps are included with the 4P11 and 4P13 inserts to protect the sphere from dust and debris when not in use, while the 4P12 insert should be exchanged with a 4P10 port plug insert for the same purpose. However, ports closed with caps or left open will disrupt the uniform reflectance properties of the sphere. Prior to operation of the sphere, any unused, open port insert should be exchanged for a 4P10 insert for optimal performance.

If the inserts available from stock are not suitable for your application, please contact Tech Support to inquire about custom inserts.

Item # Port Size Threading Cage System Compatibility Dust Cap(s)
4P10 N/A N/A N/A N/A
4P11 Ø1" SM1 Four 4-40 Taps for 30 mm Cage Included
4P12 Ø2" SM2 Four 4-40 Taps for 60 mm Cage None
4P13 Two Ø14 mm, 8° Geometrya SM1 None Included
  • This geometry enables an input source to be aligned at one port and its direct reflection off the opposing sphere surface to be detected through the other port.
Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
4P10 Support Documentation
4P10NEW!Port Plug Insert for Modular Ø100 mm Integrating Sphere
$250.00
Today
4P11 Support Documentation
4P11NEW!Ø1" Port Insert for Modular Ø100 mm Integrating Sphere, SM1 Thread
$250.00
Today
4P12 Support Documentation
4P12NEW!Ø2" Port Insert for Modular Ø100 mm Integrating Sphere, SM2 Thread
$150.00
Today
4P13 Support Documentation
4P13NEW!Dual Ø14 mm Ports Insert for Modular Ø100 mm Integrating Sphere, SM1 Thread
$250.00
Today

Custom Configurable Integrating Spheres

Item # 4P3-CUSTOM 4P4-CUSTOM
# of Modular Faces Three Four
Support Documents 4P3 Support Documentation 4P4 Support Documentation

Use the tool below to configure a custom integrating sphere. The number of modular faces and fixed Ø5 mm ports selected through this tool are permanent structures that cannot be modified after purchase. Port inserts chosen for each of the modular faces are interchangeable by the user.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
4P3-CUSTOM Support Documentation
4P3-CUSTOMNEW!Ø100 mm Integrating Sphere with 3 Modular Faces, Customer-Selected Configuration
$2,550.00
Lead Time
4P4-CUSTOM Support Documentation
4P4-CUSTOMNEW!Ø100 mm Integrating Sphere with 4 Modular Faces, Customer-Selected Configuration
$2,800.00
Lead Time
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