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Compact USB Power Meters
Power Meter with Photodiode Sensor, 700 - 1800 nm
Power Meter with Slim Photodiode Sensor, 400 - 1100 nm
Power Meter with Thermal Sensor, 190 nm - 20 µm
Power Meter with Integrating Sphere Sensor, 800 - 1700 nm
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The PM16-140C Integrating Sphere Power Meter connected to a laptop running the optical power monitor software.
Thorlabs has integrated some of our most popular sensor head formats with a compact USB power meter interface that can be operated using a computer running the optical power monitor software (see the Software tab for download information). Sensor head options include our standard photodiode sensors, a slim-format photodiode sensor, integrating spheres, and a thermal sensor. A 1.5 meter cable* connects the sensor head to the power meter electronics, which are contained in a compact 65 mm x 20 mm x 10 mm (2.60" x 0.80" x 0.40") USB package. The power meter can be controlled by Thorlabs' Optical Power Monitor software installed on a computer running one of the Windows® 7 (SP1) through Windows 10 operating systems (see the Software tab for download information).
Standard Photodiode Sensors
Slim Photodiode Sensor
Integrating Sphere Photodiode Sensors
Thermal Power Sensors
USB Power Meter Interface
All of the power meters available on this page have externally SM1-threaded input apertures or included adapters, except for the PM16-130 for which the SM1A29 adapter (available below) must be purchased separately. These threads allow the sensor heads to be used with our selection of internally SM1-threaded fiber adapter caps, available below.
*If a longer cable length than 1.5 m is required, Thorlabs also offers USB extension cables in a variety of lengths.
USB Power Meters with Standard Photodiode Sensors
USB Power Meter with Slim Photodiode Sensor
USB Power Meters with Integrating Sphere Sensor
USB Power Meter with Thermal Sensors
Compatible Power Meters
The Optical Power Monitor software is not compatible with the PM320E Benchtop Power Meter.
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Measurement Mode: Set up and configure up to eight power meters.
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Tuning Mode: Simulated analog needle and digital measurement value provided. Delta Mode, enabled above, shows the fluctuation range during the measurement period.
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Statistics Mode: Calculate numerical statistics for a pre-determined measurement period. The panel displays the analyzed values in a bar graph and the results as numerical values.
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Data Logging: Enable long-term measurement and simultaneous recording from up to eight power meters. Save data as .csv files for later processing while measurement results are displayed in a graph in real time.
Optical Power Monitor GUI Software for Touchscreen, Handheld, and USB-Interface Power Meters
The Optical Power Monitor software GUI enables seamless control of up to eight power meters that are connected via USB or Bluetooth® wireless technologya. The latest software, firmware, drivers, and utilities for these power meters can be downloaded here.
Multiple data measurement and analysis functions are integrated into the GUI package. The interface offers a user-friendly design with minimal use of color and low brightness that is ideal use in dark lab environments while wearing laser safety glasses. Measured data can be displayed in real time as a simulated analog needle, digital values, line graph, or bar graph. Continuously logged and short-term measurements can be recorded for data viewing and analysis at a later point. A built-in statistics mode analyzes measured data and continuously updates to reflect new measurements within the pre-determined measurement period.
The Optical Power Monitor software package installs the GUI, which then can be used to control the touchscreen, handheld, or USB-interface power meters. Firmware updates for supported power meters are also available. Programming examples and drivers for interfacing with our power and energy meter consoles using LabVIEW, Visual C++, and Visual C# are installed with the software; refer to the manual for details.
Please note that the Optical Power Monitor Software uses different drivers than the Power Meter Utilities Software and Thorlabs recommends using the new driver TLPM.dll. For users who wish to use the legacy Power Meter Software or use custom software designed using the older PM100D.dll driver, a Power Meter Driver Switcher program is included for easy swapping of the installed driver between the two versions.
a. The PM160, PM160T, and PM160T-HP power meters are equipped with Bluetooth® connections.
Pulsed Laser Emission: Power and Energy Calculations
Determining whether emission from a pulsed laser is compatible with a device or application can require referencing parameters that are not supplied by the laser's manufacturer. When this is the case, the necessary parameters can typically be calculated from the available information. Calculating peak pulse power, average power, pulse energy, and related parameters can be necessary to achieve desired outcomes including:
Pulsed laser radiation parameters are illustrated in Figure 1 and described in the table. For quick reference, a list of equations are provided below. The document available for download provides this information, as well as an introduction to pulsed laser emission, an overview of relationships among the different parameters, and guidance for applying the calculations.
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Figure 1: Parameters used to describe pulsed laser emission are indicated in the plot (above) and described in the table (below). Pulse energy (E) is the shaded area under the pulse curve. Pulse energy is, equivalently, the area of the diagonally hashed region.
Is it safe to use a detector with a specified maximum peak optical input power of 75 mW to measure the following pulsed laser emission?
The energy per pulse:
seems low, but the peak pulse power is:
It is not safe to use the detector to measure this pulsed laser emission, since the peak power of the pulses is >5 orders of magnitude higher than the detector's maximum peak optical input power.
These USB Power Meters with standard photodiode sensors are ideal for measuring low-power coherent and incoherent sources with wavelengths from 400 to 1100 nm (Si photodiode) or 700 to 1800 nm (Ge photodiode). The NIST-traceable, calibrated sensors features a large Ø9.5 mm active area and an integrated annular viewing target surrounding the input aperture that absorbs wavelengths from 400 to 640 nm and 800 to 1700 nm.
The front face of the housing is externally SM1 (1.035"-40) threaded for compatibility with Thorlabs’ Ø1" lens tubes and other accessories, providing a convenient way to mount external optics, fiber adapters (sold below), filters, and apertures. A combined 8-32- and M4-threaded tap on the side of the housing accepts both metric and imperial posts.
Thorlabs offers a recalibration service for these products, which can be ordered below (see Item # CAL1 for Si sensors and Item # CAL2 for Ge sensors).
The PM16-130 Compact USB Power Meter with Slim Silicon Photodiode Sensor is designed for optical source power measurements in locations where space and accessibility are at a premium. The 5 mm thin sensor end can fit between closely spaced optics, cage systems, and other arrangements where standard power meters may not fit. The NIST-traceable, calibrated sensors also feature a large Ø9.5 mm sensor aperture and slideable neutral density filter for dual power ranges in one compact device.
Thorlabs offers a recalibration service for these products, which can be ordered below (see Item # CAL-S130).
These Compact USB Power Meters with Integrating Sphere Photodiode Sensors are an excellent choice for entrance-angle-independent power measurements of non-uniform, diverging, beam shapes. Integrating spheres are ideal for power measurements from fiber sources, as well as off-axis free space sources.
The integrating spheres feature Ø5 mm entrance apertures and externally SM1 (1.035"-40) threaded entrance ports. Because of the large active detector areas of these sensors, the included S120-FC fiber adapter can be used with FC/PC- or FC/APC-terminated fiber. Additional fiber adapters for other connector types are available below. NIST-traceable data is stored in the power meter for accurate power measurements.
Thorlabs offers a recalibration service for these products, which can be ordered below (see Item # CAL1 for Si sensors and Item # CAL2 for InGaAs sensors).
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PM16-401 Thermal Sensor with Included Light Shield
These theromopile-based sensors are ideal choices for measuring broadband spectra from amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) sources, light emitting diodes (LEDs), filament lamps, swept-wavelength lasers, and other sources. In addition, thermal power sensors do not saturate, which makes them well suited to measuring pulsed sources with high pulse peak powers or long-duration pulses. These thermal power sensors also exhibit low dependency on the angle and position of the incident light beam. They are preferred for applications that cannot tolerate the strong wavelength dependencies and/or saturation thresholds of photodiode sensors. However, thermal power sensors generally have lower power resolutions and longer response times.
All include an externally SM1-threaded (1.035"-40) adapter, with threading concentric with the input aperture. The adapters are useful for mounting Ø1" Lens Tubes and Fiber Adapters (available below). The PM16-405's aperture has internal SM05 (0.535"-40) threading that is directly compatible with SM05 lens tubes, and two 4-40 tapped holes and Ø6 mm through holes enable it to connect directly to Thorlabs' 30 mm Cage Systems. The PM16-425 features an aperture with internal SM1 threading that is directly compatible with SM1 lens tubes.
The PM16-401 and PM16-405 are well-suited to measuring low-power optical sources when high-resolution and high-sensitivity measurements are required. The PM16-401's sensor head performs active background compensation to provide low-drift measurements with 1 µW resolution. It is ideal for use with aligning and measuring Mid-IR Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs). The PM16-405's sensor head is compatible with higher optical power densities, while providing high 5 µW resolution. The PM16-425 has a fast <0.6 s response time and an easily removable heat sink which facilitate upgrading it or building the sensor into a custom setup. If replacing the heat sink, please note that the replacement must provide heat dissipation adequate for the application.
Thorlabs offers a recalibration service for these products, which can be ordered below (see Item # CAL-S200).
These internally SM1-threaded (1.035"-40) adapters mate terminated fiber to any of our externally SM1-threaded components, including our photodiode power sensors, our thermal power sensors, and our photodetectors.
The APC adapter has two dimples in the front surface that allow it to be tightened with the SPW909 or SPW801 spanner wrench. The dimples do not go all the way through the disk so that the adapter can be used in light-tight applications when paired with SM1 lens tubes.
Please contact Tech Support if you are unsure if the adapter is mechanically compatible.
Thorlabs offers calibration services for our optical power meters. To ensure accurate measurements, we recommend recalibrating the meters annually. Refer to the table below for the appropriate recalibration service Item # that corresponds to your power meter. Once the appropriate Item # is selected, enter the Part # and Serial # of the product that requires recalibration prior to selecting Add to Cart.
Please Note: To ensure your item being returned for calibration is routed appropriately once it arrives at our facility, please do not ship it prior to being provided an RMA Number and return instructions by a member of our team.