Wedged Neutral Density Filters Lab Facts
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Water Spectrum as Recorded Through a Standard and Wedged ND filter
Comparison of Standard and Wedged ND Filters
We present laboratory measurements on the difference in the etalon effect between our standard reflective neutral density (ND) filters and our wedged reflective ND filters. In many broadband scattering or absorption measurements, it is important to understand how intensity fluctuations through the utilized optics can impact the measurement. While it is known that parallel surfaces introduce significant wavelength-dependent intensity fluctuations, we find that utilizing a wedged geometry significantly reduces these etalon effects.
For our experiment we used the SLS202 Stabilized Light Source as the broadband, fiber-coupled light source. The F260FC-C Fiber Collimator, held in the KAD11F Kinematic Pitch/Yaw Adapter, collimates the light out of the fiber. The collimated light is incident upon the ND filter that is being investigated before entering the OSA203B Optical Spectrum Analyzer. The OSA has a spectral resolution of 7.5 GHz (0.25 cm-1) and the traces were averaged (>100 scans) in order to reduce noise and allow for more accurate analysis. The data focused on a wavelength range of 1820 - 1845 nm, which covers the NIR water spectrum. Since the absorption spectrum of water is well known, it is ideal to use as a comparison to evaluate the performance difference between these two styles of ND filter.
The figure to the right summarizes the measured results for etalon effects through reflective neutral density filters. The etalon effects are quite stark, and we can see in the case of the standard ND filters that details of the water spectrum are lost to the intensity fluctuations of the background levels. By contrast, the wedged ND filters have a relatively clean signal with well-defined peaks. Data is presented for unmounted standard and wedged ND filters, though the results hold for mounted filters as well. Data is also compared to the HITRAN water spectrum standard. For details on the experimental setup employed and the results summarized here, please click here.
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