This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
LASER SPECTRAL ANALYSIS MADE EASY
Jeff Kondziela, Product Line Manager, EXFO Burleigh Products Group
When considering a laser spectrum analyzer (LSA), choosing the right unit can be a daunting task. A better understanding of LSA components and the technology behind them not only facilitates the decision process, it will also allow you to get maximum value after installation. EXFO Burleigh Products Group (formerly Burleigh Instruments) has been refining its expertise in Fabry-Perot interferometry since 1972, developing a unique family of laser spectrum analyzers that precisely characterize the spectral features of virtually any continuous wave (CW) laser source. Our continual fine-tuning of the Fabry-Perot interferometer design has resulted in laser spectrum analyzers that offer exceptional resolution measurements of laser linewidth, longitudinal mode structure and frequency stability*. In order to help you find the type of instrument that best fits your requirements, this application note describes the components that make up a laser spectrum analyzer, as well as the technology designed into them.
A Complete Laser Spectrum Analyzer System
EXFO’s laser spectrum analyzers are, in fact, complete systems that include all the components necessary for routine operation, greatly simplifying laser spectral analysis. The only other equipment that is required is an oscilloscope to view the output. Four items are necessary to perform routine laser spectral analysis (Figure 1): Fabry-Perot interferometer Interferometer mount Ramp generator Detector/amplifier
Figure 1. EXFO laser spectrum analyzer systems include all the required components.
* For a more comprehensive, detailed description of the theory behind Fabry-Perot interferometry, see EXFO Application Note 094: Accurately Measure Laser Spectral Characteristics
Telecommunications Test and Measurement
resulting in a common focus (Figure 3).Application Note 099 A) Fabry-Perot Interferometer (SA-91. If the frequency of the incident light is such that constructive interference occurs within the Fabry-Perot cavity. represented by the SAPlus system. or etalon assembly. the common focus of the mirrors results in a simple alignment procedure.com Telecommunications Test and Measurement .exfo. Standing wave within a Fabry-Perot cavity allows for constructive interference. the light will be transmitted (Figure 2). destructive interference will not allow any light through the Fabry-Perot interferometer. In confocal mirror systems. There are two common designs for scanning Fabry-Perot interferometers. represented by EXFO’s TL series. the focusing of the incident beam reduces possible finesse degradation due to mirror surface imperfections. Figure 3. Incident light enters the Fabry-Perot cavity and undergoes multiple reflections between the mirrors so that the light interferes with itself many times. generates the interference pattern that is characteristic of the spectral features of the laser under test. The only limitation of a confocal mirror system is that its free spectral range (FSR) is fixed by the radii of curvature of the mirrors. the other design uses confocal mirrors. Second. the Fabry-Perot interferometer consists of two partially transmitting mirrors precisely aligned to form a reflective cavity. TL-15) The Fabry-Perot interferometer. One design uses plano-mirrors. Otherwise. Figure 2. The designs are defined by the type of mirrors that are used to form the interferometer cavity. www. First. high finesse is achieved easily for two reasons. A simple device that relies on the interference of multiple beams. The path of incident light in a confocal mirror Fabry-Perot interferometer. Confocal Mirror Design The confocal mirror Fabry-Perot interferometer is a special type of spherical mirror system that uses a pair of concave mirrors whose radii of curvature are equal to their separation.
a multilayer dielectric coating is applied to the mirror surface and an anti-reflection coating is applied to the rear surface of the mirror. three independent PZT transducers are needed. For planomirrors. a soft dielectric coating is used instead. providing maximum flexibility. The mirrors used in EXFO’s laser spectrum analyzers are highly reflective (> 99 %) over a specific wavelength range. the bodies of EXFO Fabry-Perot interferometers are constructed of low thermal expansion Invar. The precision with which the mirror is scanned depends on the linearity of the material used in the PZT. To achieve such high reflectivity. Mirror Reflectivity As might be expected. Choosing the Right Materials Pay particular attention to the materials used in a Fabry-Perot interferometer. For confocal mirrors. precisely aligned parallel to each other. rugged hard coatings maintain the highest level of performance over the long lifetime of the mirrors.Application Note 099 Plano-Mirror Design The plano-mirror Fabry-Perot interferometer uses a pair of very flat mirrors. B) Interferometer Mount (SA-900) The interferometer mount holds the Fabry-Perot interferometer and allows adjustments to precisely align the input laser beam for optimum performance. Aligning the laser beam to the optical axis of the interferometer is critical to ensure that the transmission properties of the interferometer do not depend on any angular effects. The interferometer mirrors in EXFO systems operate over popular wavelength ranges or can be customized to operate at a specific wavelength. as is the wavelength range. They are arranged symmetrically around one of the mirrors and are driven either independently to tilt the mirror for precise cavity alignment. The precise adjustments possible with EXFO Fabry-Perot interferometers are due to the superior linearity (> 99 %) of the low thermal expansion PZT material used. To ensure system stability.com Telecommunications Test and Measurement .exfo. a single PZT transducer is used to scan the mirror cavity. Since alignment of the confocal mirror interferometer is not as critical. which allows extremely stable performance over a wide temperature range. The mirrors of the interferometer can be changed easily. www. Applying a ramp voltage to the PZT transducer very precisely changes the physical separation of the mirrors. as their selection is based on thermal and mechanical properties. alignment of the interferometer cavity is critical. resulting in a controlled change to the interference condition of the interferometer. Both the quality and the wavelength range are determined by coatings applied to the surface of the mirrors. since the process of applying hard dielectric coatings has the potential to reduce the mirror flatness (λ/50). Therefore. the reflectivity of the mirrors in a Fabry-Perot interferometer is important. In plano-mirror systems. Spectral scanning of the interferometer is generated by a piezoelectric (PZT) transducer attached to one of the interferometer’s mirrors. They are permanently mounted in Invar cells that allow convenient handling and reduce the chance of mirror damage while they are being replaced. The design of the interferometer mount is the key to convenient adjustments and highquality results. or synchronously to scan the mirror cavity. The primary advantage of such a design is that it provides a variable FSR because there are no restrictions on the distance by which plano-mirrors can be separated.
SA-900 four-axis mount. Y. Alignment of the interferometer in X. RG-93) The third basic component. the < 1 % non-linearity of the piezoelectric scan can be improved to better than 0. the frequency scale of the output display. With this correction. Both the RG-91 and the RG-93 systems generate a ramp voltage that is extremely linear. provides the voltage required to piezoelectrically scan the Fabry-Perot interferometer. In addition to scan controls. the piezoelectric scan of a laser spectrum analyzer is. EXFO’s RG-91 system provides convenient controls to adjust the range.exfo. The slope of the ramp for the three output channels also can be adjusted independently to ensure tilt-free scanning. Three-channel ramp generators provide the voltage required for three piezoelectric transducers in plano-mirror systems such as the TL interferometer. Figure 4.Application Note 099 EXFO laser spectrum analyzers include a custom alignment mount with four degrees of freedom (Figure 4). in effect. In many laser spectral analysis applications. EXFO ramp generators include an adjustment to shape the ramp voltage and correct for the inherent non-linear motion of the piezoelectric transducer.1 %. EXFO’s RG-93 provides three independent DC bias signals for fine-tuning the mirror alignment that is required for plano-mirror interferometers.25 %. C) Ramp Generator (RG-91. Two types are available: single-channel and triple-channel. θ and φ is simple using the high-resolution adjustment knobs. an FC-style fiber-optic input simplifies the coupling of a laser beam into the interferometer. between 10 % and 90 % of the maximum voltage output. EXFO’s alignment mount also contains a removable aperture to limit the size of the laser beam entering the interferometer. which can decrease the finesse of the system. However. www. the ramp generator. Deviation from an ideal ramp wavelength is less than 0. Using a smaller beam minimizes the effects of mirror surface irregularities and/or spherical aberration.com Telecommunications Test and Measurement . it is important that the piezoelectric scan have the highest degree of linearity for the most precise measurements. zero offset and rate of the ramp voltage. Therefore. For such cases. for more demanding applications. Single-channel ramp generators provide the voltage required for single piezoelectric transducers in confocal systems such as the SAPlus interferometer. In addition. a linear ramp is sufficient because the non-linearity of the piezoelectric transducer is small.
D) Detector/Amplifier (DA-100) As the name implies. FSR and finesse can be considered two of the most important characteristics of a Fabry-Perot interferometer-based laser spectrum analyzer (Figure 5). This allows continuous monitoring of the spectral output while making adjustments to optimize the performance of the laser spectrum analyzer. the detector/amplifier system detects the laser light transmitted through the laser spectrum analyzer. For convenience.com Telecommunications Test and Measurement . the detector assembly mounts magnetically to the rear of the Fabry-Perot interferometer. Eliminating such mechanical resonance maximizes performance by allowing smooth. The general rule of thumb is that the FSR should be at least twice the laser’s spectral bandwidth. Typical transmission pattern of Fabry-Perot interferometer. to obtain meaningful measurements.Application Note 099 To further enhance the performance of EXFO’s laser spectrum analyzers. Therefore. www. Choosing a Laser Spectrum Analyzer Armed with an understanding of the design differences in laser spectrum analyzers. then amplifies the signal for display on an oscilloscope. The detector/amplifier system used with EXFO laser spectrum analyzers is available with a choice of interchangeable photodetectors for use with visible to infrared wavelengths.exfo. Figure 5. the FSR should be as small as possible. Its superior. FSR is the interferometer’s spectral measurement window or the frequency bandwidth over which it is possible to measure without overlapping different interference orders. With this information. At the same time. low-noise performance detects signals as low as 1 nW to minimize the laser intensity required for laser spectral analysis. for the highest resolution measurements. the FSR must be greater than the spectral bandwidth of the laser under test. When considering a laser spectrum analyzer. important points to note are the sensitivity of the detector and the range of acceptable wavelengths. The first step in determining which laser spectrum analyzer is best suited for a particular application is to identify the general characteristics of the laser source to be analyzed. let’s put that knowledge to use. controlled acceleration of the scanning mirror. both ramp generators use a fixed ramp voltage rounding at the ramp turning points to limit mechanical shock to the scanning mirror.
feel free to contact us at info@exfo. Furthermore. we will be happy to share our expertise with you. it will be easier to determine the right instrument for your applications. the components or the products in this application note.exfo. the Appendix below contains a summary of EXFO LSA specifications as well as brief product descriptions.Application Note 099 Finesse is a dimensionless value used to quantify the performance of a Fabry-Perot interferometer.com Telecommunications Test and Measurement . The relationship between finesse.com. resulting in a more complete interference process and therefore higher resolution measurements. www. allowing you to make an informed decision. the laser spectrum analyzer’s spectral resolution (Δν) and the minimum resolvable bandwidth is represented by the equation: Δν = FSR/Finesse Conclusion This application note was created to provide a general overview of the components of a laser spectrum analyzer. With this information in hand. A higher finesse value indicates a greater number of interfering beams. If you have any questions about the technology.
com Toll-free: 1 800 663-3936 (USA and Canada) www. 6 Southem Capital Gym Road Addison.5 mm (custom ranges) Corporate Headquarters > 400 Godin Avenue.1. The SAPlus laser spectrum analyzer is the best system available to measure the linewidth.40.com/specsheets/TLSeriesan. For additional information and product specifications on the SAPlus.pdf.pdf. Suite 122 Le Dynasteur. TL Series Laser Spectrum Analyzer EXFO’s TL Series laser spectrum analyzer provides the most convenient spectral characterization of lasers with large bandwidths or a wide range of frequencies such as laser diodes.com EXFO America EXFO Europe EXFO Asia-Pacific EXFO China 4275 Kellway Circle. 10/12 rue Andras Beck 151 Chin Swee Road.40.: 1 418 683-0211 Fax: 1 418 683-2170 info@exfo. R. With a variable FSR of 15 to 1500 GHz.83.04. the TL system provides the highest resolution available. With a finesse greater than 150. #03-29 Manhattan House Beijing New Century Hotel Office Tower Room 1754-1755 No.85 Tel.: 1 800 663-3936 Tel.5 μm.exfo. CHINA Tel.85.1. Vanier (Quebec) G1M 2K2 CANADA Tel.2AN © 2005 EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering Inc. longitudinal mode structure and frequency stability of narrow band lasers. Printed in Canada 05/05 . visit http://documents. the TL Series easily measures the spectral features of virtually any laser operating at wavelengths from 450 nm to 3.: +33. ease of use and convenience. TX 75001 USA 92366 Meudon la Forêt Cedex FRANCE SINGAPORE 169876 Beijing 100044 P. For additional information and product specifications on the TL Series. visit http://documents.8 mm (standard ranges) 450 nm to 3. EXFO Laser Spectrum Analyzer Quick Reference Guide Model SAPlus Series TL Series FSR 2 GHz or 8 GHZ 15 to 1500 GHz (discretely variable) Finesse 200 or 300 150 Resolution Up to 7 MHz or up to 27 MHz Up to 100 MHz Wavelengths Available 450 nm to 1.: +86 (10) 6849 2738 Fax: 1 972 836-0164 Fax: +33.exfo.exfo.com/specsheets/SA-Plusan.Application Note 099 Appendix SAPlus Series Laser Spectrum Analyzer EXFO’s SAPlus laser spectrum analyzer combines high-performance CW laser spectral characterization and user-friendly design for the utmost precision.: +65 6333 8241 Tel.83. All rights reserved.42 Fax: +65 6333 8242 Fax: +86 (10) 6849 2662 Appnote099.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.