List of Insights into Photonics Lab Equipment and Practices
Having the right information can save hours of work and frustration, but a lot of this valuable knowledge is not found in textbooks, taught in classes, or easily located by searching online sources. Much of this knowledge is gained through experience and trapped in the minds and lab notebooks of people working in the world of photonics.
Thorlabs is on a mission to collect these tips, tricks, guidelines, and practical techniques into a book of knowledge we call Insights. Click on the following links or browse the tabs on this page to read the Insights we have recorded as of today. This collection is always growing, so check back soon to see what new Insights have been added.
- What is a procedure for correcting a laser's beam pointing angle?
- How are two mirrors used to align a laser beam along a different path?
- What is the required spacing between two beam-steering mirrors?
- What is an example of a do-it-yourself Keplerian beam reducer?
- Can expanding a laser beam effectively create a smaller beam size?
- Does it matter whether a beam expander or reducer has a Keplerian or Galilean design?
- Clamping Forks: Tip for Maximizing the Holding Force
- Optical Tables: Clamping Forks and Distortion of the Table's Surface
- Washers: Using Them with Optomech
- Electrical Signals: AC vs. DC Coupling
- Fiber Collimators: Tip for Mounting with Adapter
- How are the large mounting holes (counterbores) at the middle of a translation stage used?
- Is fast access to all mounting slots on a linear translation stage possible?
- What are some first steps to improving power measurements of low-power optical signals?
- Does collimated light maintain a constant beam diameter out to infinity?
- Is the beam spot output by a collimating lens an image of the lamp or LED source?
- Do translation stages isolate mounted components from vibrations transmitted through the adjuster?
- Post Holders: Rectangular Channel in the Inner Bore
- Bases: For Stability Orient the Side with the Undercut Down
- When does NA provide a good estimate of the fiber's acceptance angle?
- Why is MFD an important coupling parameter for single mode fibers?
- Does NA provide a good estimate of beam divergence from a single mode fiber?
- What factors affect the amount of light coupled into a single mode fiber?
- Is the max acceptance angle constant across the core of a multimode fiber?
- Does the condenser's NA affect the microscope's resolution?
- How does Köhler illumination work in microscopy?
- Are collimated beams always emitted parallel to the laser's axis?
- Quantum and Interband Cascade Lasers (QCLs and ICLs): Operating Limits and Thermal Rollover
- HeNe Lasers: Handling and Mounting Guidelines
- Beam Size Measurement Using a Chopper Wheel
- Can the thin-lens equation be used with laser light?
- Can C-mount and CS-mount cameras and lenses be used with each other?
- Do Thorlabs' scientific cameras need an adapter?
- Why can the FFD be smaller than the distance separating the camera's flange and sensor?
- Why use a parabolic mirror instead of a spherical mirror?
- Benefit of an Off-Axis Parabolic Mirror
- The Off-Axis Angle of an OAP Mirror
- Focus Collimated Light / Collimate Light from a Point Source Using an OAP Mirror
- Locating the Optical and Focal Axes of an OAP Mirror
- Paired OAP Mirrors Can Relay an Image and Make the Beam Accessible
- Mounting and Aligning an OAP Mirror
- Directionality of OAP-Mirror-Based Reflective Collimators
- How can the strength of a material's Faraday effect be measured?
- What is needed to determine the direction and magnitude of the Faraday rotation angle?
- Does PM fiber preserve every input polarization state?
- How does polarization-maintaining fiber preserve linearly polarized light?
- What limits the extinction ratio (ER) of light output from PANDA and bow-tie PM fibers?
- What is beat length and why is it often specified for PM fiber, instead of polarization extinction ratio?
- Are polarization-maintaining fibers with stress rods affected by operating temperature?
- Labels Used to Identify Perpendicular and Parallel Components
- How is the polarization ellipse related to the polarization state?
- How is a Poincaré sphere useful for representing polarization states?
- Can the extinction ratio of a polarizing component be measured using an unpolarized light source?
- Can a linearly polarized light source be used to measure the extinction ratio of a polarizing optic?
- Is there a rule for choosing the mirror's diameter based on the laser beam's diameter?
- How does alignment affect the beam path through a retroreflector?
- Why coat the backsides of solid prism retroreflectors with metal?
- Does the angle of incidence affect the output beam power from a corner-cube retroreflector?
- How to Align a Laser
- Optical Power Meter Parameter Setup for Improved Accuracy
- How to Motorize a Manual Translation Stage
- Tips for Bolting Post Holders to Optical Tables, Bases, and Breadboards
- How to Align an Optical Isolator
- Align a Linear Polarizer's Axis to be Vertical or Horizontal to the Table
- Cleave a Large-Diameter Silica Fiber Using a Hand-Held Scribe
- Measure the Insertion Loss of a Fiber Optic Component
- Create Circularly Polarized Light Using a Quarter-Wave Plate (QWP)
- Align a Linear Polarizer 45° to the Plane of Incidence
- Align Fiber Collimators to Create Free Space Between Single Mode Fibers
- Setting Up a TO Can Laser Diode (Viewer Inspired)
- Setting Up a Pigtailed Butterfly Laser Diode (Viewer Inspired)
- Distinguish the Fast and Slow Axes of a Quarter-Wave Plate
- Visual Studio® Project Setup and C# Programming - Kinesis® BBD300 Series Controller
- Build a Polarimeter to Find Stokes Values, Polarization State (Viewer Inspired)
- Raster Scan Using Visual Studio® and C# Programming - Kinesis® BBD300 Series Controller
- Align an Off-Axis Parabolic (OAP) Mirror to Collimate a Beam (Viewer Inspired)
- Camera Setup and Image Acquisition Using Visual Studio® and C# Programming
- Align FiberPorts on a FiberBench (Viewer Inspired)
- Working with KF (QR) Vacuum Flanged Components
- Mounting your Optomech: Bases, Post Holders, and Posts
- Use Laser Speckle to Find the Beam Focus
- Python® Automation of a Power Meter and Rotation Mount (Viewer Inspired)
- Working with CF Vacuum Flanges
- Calibrate a Spatial Light Modulator (SLM) for Phase Delay (Viewer Inspired)
- Collimate a Laser with a Shear-Plate Collimation Tester (Viewer Inspired)
- PM Fiber Measurements Used to Align Incident Polarization State (Viewer Inspired)
- Herriott Cell Setup and Configuration (Viewer Inspired)
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