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Fiber-Coupled, Benchtop Tunable Laser Sources
Tunable Laser Source,
Click to Enlarge
Block Diagram of the TLX Series Tunable Lasers. See the Operation tab for details.
*Monitor 1 is for internal use within the laser's control loop only.
Janis Valdmanis, Ph.D. Optics
We Design, Develop, and Manufacture
|Power and Environmental Specifications|
|Main AC Voltage||100 VAC||250 VAC|
|Power Consumption||-||60 VA|
|Line Frequency||50 Hz||60 Hz|
|Operating Temperature||10 °C||40 °C|
|Storage Temperature||0 °C||50 °C|
|Humiditya||5% Relative Humidity||85% Relative Humidity|
|Tunable Wavelength Range||1528 - 1566 nm||1570 - 1609 nm|
|Tunable Frequency Range||191.50 - 196.25 THz||186.35 - 190.95 THz|
|Optical Output Power||dBm||12.5||13.5||14.5|
|Tuning Speed (Between Wavelengths)||s||-||10||-|
|Side Mode Suppression Ratio||dB||40||55||-|
|Optical Signal Noise Ratio||dB||40||60||-|
|Relative Intensity Noise||dB/Hz||-||-||-145|
|Polarization Extinction Ratio||dB||18||-||-|
|Optical Input Power||20 dBm (Max)a|
|External Laser Wavelength Range||1525 nm - 1610 nm|
|Optical Insertion Lossb||0.7 dB (Typ)|
|Power Monitors Accuracyc||±0.5 dBm|
|Power Monitors Resolution||0.01 dBm|
|VOA Response Time||≤1 s|
|Outer Dimensions (W x D x H)a||250.0 mm x 300.0 mm x 122.0 mm
(9.84" x 11.81" x 4.80")
|Internal Fiber||PM Panda-Style Fiber|
|Input/Output Port Fiber Connectors||FC/PCb|
The block diagram below provides a basic illustration of the internal setup of the tunable lasers. The internal laser is routed via the loop-back cable on the front panel and input to the variable optical attenuator (VOA). Alternatively, the user can connect an external laser to the VOA input port. After the laser passes through the VOA, it exits through the optical output port on the front panel. The rear panel features ports for several additional monitor and control functions.
These devices can be fully controlled by using the resistive touchscreen display for all functions. Either a finger or plastic stylus can be used to make selections on the screen. Additionally, the knob on the front panel of the housing can be used in place of the on-screen arrow buttons for quickly changing set-point values. Pressing (clicking) the knob will confirm a new set-point value.
The home screen is organized in three main sections.
The basic layout can be seen in the screenshots to the right.
From this screen, the user can tune the laser's output wavelength (see the Specs tab for the frequency and wavelength ranges of each device). The laser settings page also allows the user to set the dither function to aid in stabilizing the wavelength. Turning the dither off will result in lower phase and intensity noise; however, the wavelength may drift slightly over time.The noise performance of the laser with and without dither can be seen on the Specs tab. The laser settings screen also provides a readout of many of the laser operating parameters.
On this screen, the user can control the optical output power via the Variable Optical Attenuator (VOA). The VOA can be operated in one of two modes: Constant Attenuation or Constant Output Power. In Constant Attenuation mode, the attenuation level between the output of the laser and the output of the VOA remains fixed, allowing power changes at the input to be transferred to the output. In Constant Output Power Mode, the final optical output power is held constant independent of the input fluctuations. In this mode, the VOA is effectively used as a power stabilizer.
The rear panel provides additional safety and utility functions such as the laser safety interlock and the power monitor output, RS-232, and USB ports. The USB interface is currently used only for firmware upgrades that are made available on the Thorlabs website. Future revisions of the firmware will provide for remote control of the instrument’s functions.
All units are shipped from Thorlabs with a shorting device that is already installed in the interlock connector thus allowing the instrument to be operated normally right out of the box. To make use of the interlock feature, a 2.5 mm plug can be wired to the remote interlock switch and plugged into the back-panel interlock jack in place of the shorting plug. The electrical specifications for that function can be found in the manual (PDF link).
|1||Touchscreen Display and Control|
|2||Value Adjustment Knob|
|3||Key Switch and Indicator Light for Internal Laser|
Accepts PM Fiber with FC/PC Connector
|5a||VOA Input (External Laser Input),
Accepts PM Fiber with FC/PC Connector
Accepts PM Fiber with FC/PC Connector
|1a||I/O Control Port
Outputs from Two Integrated Power Monitors
|2||Laser Interlock Jack|
|3a||RS-232 Control Port|
|4||USB Port (Type B)|
|5||AC Power Cord Connector|
|7||AC Power Switch|
The I/O connector provides analog outputs from the two power monitors.
|1||Reserved for Future Use||9||Analog Ground|
|2||Power Monitor 2||10||Analog Ground|
|3||Power Monitor 3||11||Reserved for Future Use|
|4||Reserved for Future Use||12||Reserved for Future Use|
|5||Analog Ground||13||Reserved for Future Use|
|6||Analog Ground||14||Monitor 2 Gain Indicator|
|7||Analog Ground||15||Monitor 3 Gain Indicator|
The RS-232 connector is provided for firmware upgrades and will support remote operation in the future.
The USB connector is provided for firmware upgrades and will support remote operation in the future.
Each Tunable Laser Source includes:
Control the TLX Series Lasers Remotely via Serial Commands
Serial commands sent to the TLX1 or TLX2 can control the functionality of internal laser module and variable optical attenuator (VOA), as well as set general system parameters. The commands can be sent from a computer running any operating system to the RS-232 port on the back panel of the TLX series laser. Computers running Windows® 7, or later versions of the operating system, can send serial commands to the USB port on the back panel of the TLX series laser. The touchscreen interface remains active while the laser is controlled remotely. Descriptions of how to connect a controlling computer to the TLX series laser, the serial command set, and descriptions of each command are included in the Remote Control User Guide.
Application Demonstrating GUI-Based Remote Control of the TLX1 and TLX2
The Remote Control Software Tool, which is available for download, is an example graphical user interface (GUI) provided for testing, demonstrating, and exploring the use of the different serial commands. This program is not required to operate the TLX1 or TLX2 remotely. It opens a connection to the laser source and sends commands in response to buttons clicked by users. Commands sent to the TLX series laser, responses from it, and status information messages are logged to the three rectangular fields located beneath the buttons. Please see the Remote Control User Guide for more information. This program can be used as a basis for the development of custom applications. Please
When your application requirements are not met by our range of catalog products or their variety of user-configurable features, please contact me to discuss how we may serve your custom or OEM needs.
Explore the benefits of using a Thorlabs high-speed instrument in your setup and under your test conditions with a demo unit. Contact me for details.
Thorlabs' Ultrafast Optoelectronics Team designs, develops, and manufactures high-speed components and instrumentation for a variety of photonics applications having frequency responses up to 70 GHz. Our extensive experience in high-speed photonics is supported by core expertise in RF/microwave design, optics, fiber optics, optomechanical design, and mixed-signal electronics. As a division of Thorlabs, a company with deep vertical integration and a portfolio of over 20,000 products, we are able to provide and support a wide selection of equipment and continually expand our offerings.
Our catalog and custom products include a range of integrated fiber-optic transmitters, modulator drivers and controllers, detectors, receivers, pulsed lasers, variable optical attenuators, and a variety of accessories. Beyond these products, we welcome opportunities to design and produce custom and OEM products that fall within our range of capabilities and expertise. Some of our key capabilities are:
Our catalog product line includes a range of integrated fiber-optic transmitters, modulator drivers and controllers, detectors, pulsed lasers, and accessories. In addition to these, we offer related items, such as receivers and customized catalog products. The following sections give an overview of our spectrum of custom and catalog products, from fully integrated instruments to component-level modules.
To meet a range of requirements, our fiber-optic instruments span a variety of integration levels. Each complete transmitter includes a tunable laser, a modulator with driver amplifier and bias controller, full control of optical output power, and an intuitive touchscreen interface. The tunable lasers, modulator drivers, and modulator bias controllers are also available separately. These instruments have full remote control capability and can be addressed using serial commands sent from a PC.
Customization options include internal laser sources, operating wavelength ranges, optical fiber types, and amplifier types.
Our component-level, custom and catalog fiber-optic products take advantage of our module design and hermetic sealing capability. Products include detectors with frequency responses up to 50 GHz, and we also specialize in developing fiber-optic receivers, operating up to and beyond 40 GHz, for instrumentation markets. Closely related products include our amplifier modules, which we offer upon request, variable optical attenuators, microwave cables, and cable accessories.
Customization options include single mode and multimode optical fiber options, where applicable, and detectors optimized for time or frequency domain operation.
Our free-space instruments include detectors with frequency responses around 1 GHz and pulsed lasers. Our pulsed lasers generate variable-width, nanosecond-duration pulses, and a range of models with different wavelengths and optical output powers are offered. User-adjustable repetition rates and trigger in/out signals provide additional flexibility, and electronic delay-line products enable experimental synchronization of multiple lasers. We can also adapt our pulsed laser catalog offerings to provide gain-switching capability for the generation of pulses in the 100 ps range.
Customization options for the pulsed lasers include emission wavelength, optical output powers, and sub-nanosecond pulse widths.
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