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Photonics Lab Instructional Videos


Photonics Lab Instructional Videos


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Photonics How-To Videos Providing Insights Into Getting Things Done in the Lab

Sometimes the best way to learn is by watching someone else. Thorlabs offers these videos to share tips, tricks, and methods we find ourselves frequently using in the lab. If you have any questions, please contact Tech Support.

 

 

Align a Laser Beam Level to the Optical Table

 

  

Two methods for aligning a laser beam so that it propagates parallel to the surface of the optical table are demonstrated.

The first technique adjusts the pointing angle of a laser, whose tip and tilt can be adjusted. Using a ruler, the laser beam is leveled and directed along a row of tapped holes in the table.

Starting with this aligned beam, the technique for changing both the direction and the height of a beam from a fixed laser source is demonstrated. Two mirrors, which are set at different heights, direct the beam along another row of tapped holes in the table. The beam is then leveled at the height of the second mirror using two irises.

Components include a PL202 laser module, KM100 kinematic mounts, AD11NT adapter, BHM1 ruler, PF10-03-P01 mirrors, and IDA25 irises.

Date of Last Edit: Sept. 8, 2020

 

 

Set a Power Meter's Wavelength, Range, and Zero Offset Parameters for Improved Accuracy

 

  

A power meter should be configured specifically for the light incident on the power sensor. Three important power meter parameters to set are the center wavelength of the light, the maximum optical power the sensor will measure, and the zero offset resulting from the detection of ambient light.

The procedure for setting these three parameters, and some things to consider while configuring them, are demonstrated and discussed using a PM400 optical power meter, an S3FC520 fiber-coupled laser source, and an S120C optical power sensor.

Always follow your institution's laser safety guidelines. Unlike the low-power source used in this demonstration, other laser sources may be damaged by back reflections. Many stray reflections, which can endanger colleagues and the laser, can be avoided by blocking the laser beam when it is not needed. 

Date of Last Edit: Sept. 24, 2020

 

 

Mount a Translation Stage and Install a Motorized Actuator

 

  

The procedures for replacing the manual adjusters on a couple of translation stages with motorized actuators are demonstrated. Using the techniques described here allows the adjuster to be exchanged without damaging the stage.

The first example uses a MT1B linear translation stage with a 0.5" travel range. The adjuster screw is swapped for a ZFS13B stepper-motor-driven actuator. In the second half of the video, the micrometer on an XR25P linear translation stage with a 1" travel range is replaced by a Z825B DC-servo-motor-driven actuator.

In addition, the video provides an introduction to best practices for mounting these stages to a table or breadboard and demonstrates the use of the locking plate. 

Date of Last Edit: Sept. 4, 2020

 

 

Avoid Screw-Length Pitfalls When Securing a Post Holder to a Table or Base

 

  

A common, unfortunate result of securing a post holder to a base or optical table is threads poking up through the bottom of the post holder. These exposed threads limit the height adjustment range offered by the post holder. Additional frustrations can result after rotating the post in the post holder, since this can unintentionally screw the post onto the exposed threads.

The solution is to keep screw length in mind when selecting a setscrew or cap screw to secure a post holder. In this video, observe consequences unfold due to threads projecting up from the bottom of the post holder, and learn techniques for overcoming this problem. The options of securing a post holder to a base or directly to the table are also compared.

Components used in this demonstration include Ø1/2" post holders, a BA2 base, Ø1/2" posts, cap screws, setscrews, and an iris.

Date of Last Edit: Sept. 24, 2020

 

 

Tuning a Free Space Optical Isolator for Operation at the Laser Wavelength

 

  

Tuning a Faraday isolator ensures optimal transmission of optical power from the source, as well as effective suppression of reflections traveling back towards the source. Tuning is demonstrated using an IO-3-532-LP polarization-dependent free-space isolator with a 510 nm to 550 nm operating range, an R2T post collar, a PL201 linearly polarized and collimated 520 nm laser, a S120C silicon power sensor, and a PM400 power meter.

These optical isolators output linearly polarized light and provide best performance when the input beam is linearly polarized.

Always follow your institution's laser safety guidelines. Unlike the low-power source used in this demonstration, other laser sources may be damaged by back reflections. Many stray reflections, which can endanger colleagues and the laser, can be avoided by blocking the laser beam when it is not needed. 

Date of Last Edit: Sept. 10, 2020

 


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