Create an Account  |   Log In

View All »Matching Part Numbers


Your Shopping Cart is Empty
         

Optical Spectrum Analyzers


  • Dual-Function Broadband Spectrometer and Wavelength Meter
  • Five Models Support Wavelengths from 350 nm to 12.0 µm
  • FC/PC Fiber Connector and Free-Space Optical Input

OSA207C

1.0 - 12.0 µm

OSA202C

600 - 1700 nm


All OSAs include a Windows® laptop with our data collection and analysis software.

Related Items


Please Wait

OSA Design Principles, Features, and Manufacturing

Olle Rosenqvist
Olle Rosenqvist
OSA R&D Manager

Contact Me

Pre-Purchase Support

To help ensure that our OSAs will meet your application needs, we would be pleased to provide the following:

  • Demo Units for Trial Use in Your Lab
  • Example Measurements
  • Evaluation of Suitability for Your Application
  • "Virtual Device" Software Demo (See Software Tab)

If you would like to take advantage of any of these services, or if you have feedback or questions, I'd be happy to assist!

Features

  • Five Models Optimized for Different Spectral Ranges
    • OSA201C: 350 - 1100 nm
    • OSA202C: 600 - 1700 nm
    • OSA203C: 1.0 - 2.6 µm (10 000 - 3846 cm-1)
    • OSA205C: 1.0 - 5.6 µm (10 000 - 1786 cm-1)
    • OSA207C: 1.0 - 12.0 µm (10 000 - 833 cm-1)
  • Two Operating Modes
  • Spectrum Obtained Using Michelson Interferometer and Fourier Transform
  • Operated by Included Windows® Laptop with Pre-Installed Software
    • Straightforward, Intuitive, and Responsive Interface
    • Real-Time Math Operations and Statistical Analysis
    • Libraries for LabVIEW™, Visual C++, Visual C#, and Visual Basic

Thorlabs' Optical Spectrum Analyzers (OSAs) perform highly accurate spectral measurements. Compatible with fiber-coupled and free-space light sources, these compact benchtop instruments suit a wide variety of applications, such as analyzing the spectrum of a telecom signal, resolving the Fabry-Perot modes of a gain chip, and identifying gas absorption lines.

Our OSAs acquire the spectrum via Fourier transform, using a scanning Michelson interferometer in a push/pull configuration. This approach enables a high-precision Wavelength Meter mode with seven significant figures and ±1 part-per-million accuracy, allows robust statistical analysis of the acquired spectra, and provides broadband spectral measurements with every scan. Details are provided in the Design tab.

All of Thorlabs' OSAs accept FC/PC-terminated fiber patch cables and collimated free-space beams up to Ø6 mm. Details on compatibility are in the Specs and Free-Space Coupling tabs, respectively. For wavelengths from 2 µm to 5.5 µm, we offer fluoride single mode and fluoride multimode fiber patch cables. OSAs with other fiber input receptacles are available by contacting Tech Support.

These instruments are designed to measure CW light sources. They also work in some applications where a pulsed light source is used; details may be found on the Pulsed Sources tab.

Our stock instruments are not designed for applications where it is necessary to recover small signals, including fluorescence detection and Raman spectroscopy. If your application would benefit from increased detection sensitivity, please refer to the Custom OSAs tab for some of our capabilities.


Power Spectral Density Comparison
Click to Enlarge

Due to its broad wavelength responsivity, the OSA207C's noise floor is higher than that of our other OSAs, which achieve lower noise floors at the expense of having narrower wavelength ranges. This OSA will easily detect lasers and other narrowband sources, but many broadband sources will not have sufficient power spectral density to be detected. This plot compares the OSA207C's noise floor in Power Density mode to an ideal 1900 K black body and Thorlabs' SLS202L Stabilized Broadband Light Source (which was measured with an OSA205C).

OSA Comparison

Item #a Wavelength Range Noise Floorb
OSA201C 350 - 1100 nm -50 dBm/nmc (350 - 500 nm)
-60 dBm/nm (500 - 1100 nm)
Absolute Power Graph
Absolute Power


Power Density Graph
Power Density
OSA202C 600 - 1700 nm -65 dBm/nm (600 - 700 nm)
-70 dBm/nm (700 - 1700 nm)
OSA203C 1.0 - 2.6 µmd
(10 000 - 3846 cm-1)
-70 dBm/nmd
OSA205C 1.0 - 5.6 µm
(10 000 - 1786 cm-1)
-40 dBm/nm
OSA207Ce 1.0 - 12.0 µm
(10 000 - 833 cm-1)
-30 dBm/nm (1.0 - 2.0 µm)
-40 dBm/nm (2.0 - 12.0 µm)
  • Please refer to the Specs tab for complete specifications.
  • Absolute Power mode is recommended for narrowband sources, while Power Density mode is recommended for broadband sources.
  • In the 350 - 500 nm range, the OSA201C will easily detect lasers and other narrowband sources, but broadband sources may not have sufficient power spectral density to be detected.
  • The OSA203C detector's temperature can be toggled between low-temperature (i.e., thermoelectrically cooled) and high-temperature (i.e., room temperature) modes. In low-temperature mode, this OSA achieves a very low noise floor of -70 dBm/nm, with a wavelength range of 1.0 - 2.5 µm. In high-temperature mode, the noise floor is -65 dBm/nm and the wavelength range is extended to 2.6 µm.
  • See the graph to the right.

General Specifications

Item # Notes OSA201C OSA202C OSA203C OSA205C OSA207C
Wavelength Range Limited by Bandwidth of
Detectors and Optics
350 - 1100 nm 600 - 1700 nm 1.0 - 2.6 µma
(10 000 - 3846 cm-1)
1.0 - 5.6 µm
(10 000 - 1786 cm-1)
1.0 - 12.0 µm
(10 000 - 833 cm-1)
Level Sensitivityb See Graphs Below -50 dBm/nmc (350 - 500 nm)
-60 dBm/nm (500 - 1100 nm)
-65 dBm/nm (600 - 700 nm)
-70 dBm/nm (700 - 1700 nm)
-70 dBm/nmd
-40 dBm/nm -30 dBm/nm (1.0 - 2.0 µm)
-40 dBm/nm (2.0 - 12.0 µm)
Spectral Resolutione Spectrometer Mode 7.5 GHz (0.25 cm-1)
See Resolution in Spectrometer Mode Graph Below
Spectral Accuracyf ±2 ppmg
Spectral Precisionh 1 ppmg
Wavelength Meter Resolution Wavelength Meter Mode
(Linewidth < 10 GHz)
0.1 ppmg
Wavelength Meter
Display Resolutioni
 9 Decimals
Wavelength Meter Accuracyf ±1 ppmg
Wavelength Meter Precisionj 0.2 ppmg
Input Power (Max) CW Source 10 mW (10 dBm)
Input Damage Thresholdk - 20 mW (13 dBm)
Power Level Accuracyl - ±1 dB
Optical Rejection Ratio See the Design Tab
for Details
30 dB
Input Fiber Compatibility - FC/PC Connectorsm
All Single Mode Fiber Patch Cables, Including Fluoride SM Fiber Patch Cables
Standard and Hybrid Multimode Fiber Patch Cables with ≤Ø50 µm Core and NA ≤ 0.22
Fluoride Multimode Fiber Patch Cables with ≤Ø100 µm Core and NA ≤ 0.26
(Single Mode Patch Cables Provide the Highest Contrast)
Free-Space Input - Accepts Collimated Beams up to Ø6 mm
Red Alignment Laser Beam (Class 1)
Four 4-40 Taps for 30 mm Cage Systems
Free-Space Input Window Material - Uncoated CaF2 Uncoated ZnSe
Dimensions -  320 mm x 149 mm x 475 mm
(12.6" x 5.9" x 18.7")
Input Powern -  100 - 240 VAC, 47 - 63 Hz, 250 W (Max)
Operating Temperature - 10 °C to 40 °C 10 °C to 35 °C
Storage Temperature -  -10 °C to 60 °C
Relative Humidity -  <80%, Non-Condensing
  • Specified in high-temperature mode. In low-temperature mode, the wavelength range is 1.0 - 2.5 µm.
  • Minimum detectable power per nanometer using Zero Fill = 0 and the highest resolution and sensitivity settings.
  • In the 350 - 500 nm range, the OSA201C will easily detect lasers and other narrowband sources, but broadband sources may not have sufficient power spectral density to be detected.
  • Specified in low-temperature mode over 1.0 - 2.5 µm. In high-temperature mode, the level sensitivity is -65 dBm/nm over 1.0 - 2.6 µm.
  • Defined according to the Rayleigh criterion.
  • After a 45-minute warm-up, for a single mode FC/PC-terminated patch cable at an operating temperature of 20 - 30 ºC.
  • Specified in parts per million, which corresponds to nearly seven significant figures (depending on the specification). For instance, if the wavelength being measured is 1 µm, the wavelength meter precision will be 200 fm.
  • Spectral Precision is the repeatability with which a spectral feature can be measured using the peak search tool.
  • Can be set from 0 - 9 decimals and has a feature that automatically estimates the relevant number of decimals.
  • Using the same input single mode fiber for all measurements.
  • Limited by the damage threshold of the internal components.
  • Specified using Absolute Power Mode, Zero Fill = 2, and Hann apodization, after a 45-minute warm-up, for an operating temperature of 20 - 30 °C. (The different apodization modes available in the OSA software are described in section 16.2 of the manual.) The specified wavelength range is 400 - 1000 nm for OSA201C, 600 - 1600 nm for OSA202C, 1.0 - 2.4 µm for OSA203C, 1.3 - 5.0 µm for OSA205C, and 2.0 - 11.0 µm for OSA207C. Each specification is valid for a single mode FC/PC-terminated patch cable, as well as for a collimated free-space beam with diameter < 3 mm and divergence < 3 mrad, assuming the included protective window is installed in the free-space aperture.
  • Connectors for other fiber input receptacles are available upon request. Please contact Tech Support or see the Custom OSAs tab for details.
  • The OSA and the Windows® laptop each come with a region-specific power cord.

Resolution and Sensitivity Specifications

Resolution in Spectrometer Mode
Click to Enlarge

The resolution shown here was calculated using the formula explained in the Design tab. Although the formula is valid for all OSA models, the usable wavelength range of each model is limited by the bandwidth of the detectors and optical coatings.
Noise Floor in Absolute Power Mode
Click to Enlarge

Absolute Power mode is recommended for narrowband sources. The OSA203C noise floor was measured in low-temperature mode.
Noise Floor in Power Density Mode
Click to Enlarge

Power Density mode is recommended for broadband sources. The OSA203C noise floor was measured in low-temperature mode.


Data Acquisition Specifications

Time Between Updates (Update Frequency)
Sensitivity Low Resolution High Resolution
Low 0.5 s (1.9 Hz) 1.8 s (0.6 Hz)
Medium Low 0.8 s (1.2 Hz) 2.9 s (0.3 Hz)
Medium High 1.5 s (0.7 Hz) 5.2 s (0.2 Hz)
High 2.7 s (0.4 Hz) 9.5 s (0.1 Hz)

The scan sensitivity and resolution are two independent settings controlled from the software. The sensitivity setting modifies the range of detector gain levels, while the resolution setting changes the optical path difference (OPD). For more details, see the Design tab.

Design

This tab describes the key concepts and implementation of the design used in Thorlabs' Optical Spectrum Analyzers.

Contents

 

FT-OSA Diagram
Click to Enlarge

Schematic of the optical path in Thorlabs' OSA, detailing the dual retroreflector design. We will refer to this schematic throughout this tutorial.

Interferometer Design

Thorlabs' Fourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzer (FT-OSA) utilizes two retroreflectors, as shown in the figure to the right. These retroreflectors are mounted on a voice-coil-driven platform, which dynamically changes the optical path length of the two arms of the interferometer simultaneously and in opposite directions. The advantage of this layout is that it changes the optical path difference (OPD) of the interferometer by four times the mechanical movement of the platform. The longer the change in OPD, the finer the spectral detail the FT-OSA can resolve.

After collimating the unknown input, a beamsplitter divides the optical signal into two separate paths. The path length difference between the two paths is varied from 0 to ±40 mm. The collimated light fields then optically interfere as they recombine at the beamsplitter.

The detector assembly shown in the figure to the right records the interference pattern, commonly referred to as an interferogram. This interferogram is the autocorrelation waveform of the input optical spectrum. By applying a Fourier transform to the waveform, the optical spectrum is recovered. The resulting spectrum offers both high resolution and very broad wavelength coverage with a spectral resolution that is related to the optical path difference. The wavelength range is limited by the bandwidth of the detectors and optical coatings. The accuracy of our system is ensured by including a frequency-stabilized (632.991 nm) HeNe reference laser, which acts to provide highly accurate measurements of beam path length changes, allowing the system to continuously self-calibrate. This process ensures accurate optical analysis well beyond what is possible with a grating-based OSA.

Each OSA model has a spectral resolution of 7.5 GHz, or 0.25 cm-1. The resolution in units of wavelength is dependent on the wavelength of light being measured. For more details, see the Resolution and Sensitivity section below. In this context, the spectral resolution is defined according to the Rayleigh criterion and is the minimum separation required between two spectral features in order to resolve them as two separate lines. These spectral resolution numbers should not be confused with the resolution when operating in the Wavelength Meter mode, which is considerably better.

The Thorlabs FT-OSA utilizes a built-in, actively stabilized reference HeNe laser to interferometrically record the variation of the optical path length. This reference laser is inserted into the interferometer and closely follows the same path traversed by the unknown input light field. To reduce the presence of water absorption lines in the MIR region of the spectrum, our OSAs feature two quick-connect hose connections (1/4" ID) on the back panel, through which the interferometer can be purged with dry air or nitrogen. Our Pure Air Circulator Unit, which uses hosing that can be directly inserted into these connectors, is ideal for this task.

OSA Resolution vs Wavelength
Click to Enlarge

OSA Resolution vs. Wavelength of the Unknown Input
The resolution shown here was calculated using the formula to the left, using Δk = 1 cm-1 for Low Resolution Mode and Δk = 0.25 cm-1 for High Resolution Mode. Although the formula is valid for all OSA models, the usable wavelength range of each model is limited by the bandwidth of the detectors and optical coatings.

Resolution and Sensitivity

The resolution of this type of instrument depends on the optical path difference (OPD) between the two paths in the interferometer. It is easiest to understand the resolution in terms of wavenumbers (inverse centimeters), as opposed to wavelength (nanometers) or frequency (terahertz).

Assume we have two narrowband sources, such as lasers, with a 1 cm-1 energy difference, 6500 cm-1 and 6501 cm-1. To distinguish between these signals in the interferogram, we would need to move away 1 cm from the point of zero path difference (ZPD). The OSA can move ±4 cm in OPD, and so it can resolve spectral features 0.25 cm-1 apart. The resolution of the instrument can be calculated as:

OSA Equation 2

where Δλ is the resolution in pm, Δk is the resolution in cm-1 (maximum of 0.25 cm-1 for this instrument) and λ is the wavelength in µm. The resolution in pm as a function of wavelength, converted using this formula, is shown in the graph to the right.

The resolution of the OSA can be set to High or Low in the main window of the software. In high resolution mode, the retroreflectors translate by the maximum of ±1 cm (±4 cm in OPD), while in low resolution mode, the retroreflectors translate by ±0.25 cm (±1 cm in OPD). The OSA software can cut the length of the interferogram that is used in the calculation of the spectrum in order to remove spectral contributions from high-frequency components.

The sensitivity of the instrument depends on the electronic gain used in the sensor electronics. Since an increased gain setting reduces the bandwidth of the detectors, the instrument will run slower when higher gain settings are used. The figures below show the dependency of the noise floor on the wavelength and OSA model.

The OSA is also designed so that it samples more points/OPD when the translation of the retroreflector assembly is slower. The data sampling is triggered by the reference signal from the internal stabilized HeNe laser. A phase-locked loop multiplies the HeNe period up to 128X for the highest sensitivity mode. This mode can be very useful when the measured light is weak and broadband, causing only a very short interval in the interferogram at the ZPD to contain all the spectral information. This portion of the interferogram is normally referred to as the zero burst.

OSA Noise Floor Absolute Power
Click to Enlarge

Noise Floor in Absolute Power Mode
Absolute Power mode is recommended for narrowband sources. The OSA203C noise floor was measured in low-temperature mode.
OSA Noise Floor Power Density
Click to Enlarge

Noise Floor in Power Density Mode
Power Density mode is recommended for broadband sources. The OSA203C noise floor was measured in low-temperature mode.

Absolute Power and Power Density

The vertical axis of the spectrum can be displayed as Absolute Power or Power Density, both of which can be displayed in either a linear or logarithmic scale. In Absolute Power mode, the total power displayed is based on the actual instrument resolution for that specific wavelength; this setting is recommended to be used only with narrow spectrum input light. For broadband devices, it is recommended that the Power Density mode is used. Here the vertical axis is displayed in units of power per unit wavelength, where the unit wavelength is based upon a fixed wavelength band and is independent of the resolution setting of the instrument.

Interferogram Data Acquisition

The interference pattern of the reference laser is used to clock a 16-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) such that samples are taken at a fixed, equidistant optical path length interval. The HeNe reference fringe period is digitized and its frequency multiplied by a phase-locked loop (PLL), leading to an extremely fine sampling resolution. Multiple PLL filters enable frequency multiplication settings of 16X, 32X, 64X, or 128X. At the 128X multiplier setting, data points are acquired approximately every 1 nm of carriage travel. The multiple PLL filters enable the user to balance the system parameters of resolution and sensitivity against the acquisition time and refresh rate.

A high-speed USB 2.0 link transfers the interferogram for the device under test at 6 MB/s with a ping-pong transfer scheme, enabling the streaming of very large data sets. Once the data is captured, the OSA software, which is highly optimized to take full advantage of modern multi-core processors, performs a number of calculations to analyze and condition the input waveform in order to obtain the highest possible resolution and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at the output of the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT).

A very low noise and low distortion detector amplifier with automatic gain control provides a large dynamic range, allows optimal use of the ADC, and ensures excellent signal-to-noise (SNR) for up to 10 mW of input power. For low-power signals, the system can typically detect less than 100 pW from narrowband sources. The balanced detection architecture enhances the SNR of the system by enabling the Thorlabs FT-OSA to use all of the light that enters the interferometer, while also rejecting common mode noise.

Interferogram
Click to Enlarge

A Typical Interferogram

Interferogram Data Processing

The interferograms generated by the instrument vary from 0.5 million to 16 million data points depending on the resolution and sensitivity mode settings employed. The FT-OSA software analyzes the input data and intelligently selects the optimal FFT algorithm from our internal library.

Additional software performance is realized by utilizing an asynchronous, multi-threaded approach to collecting and handling interferogram data through the multitude of processing stages required to yield spectrum information. The software's multi-threaded architecture manages several operational tasks in parallel by actively adapting to the PC's capabilities, thus ensuring maximum processor bandwidth utilization. Each of our FT-OSA instruments ships complete with a laptop computer that has been carefully selected to ensure that both the data processing and user interface operate optimally.

Wavelength Meter Mode

When narrowband optical signals are analyzed, the FT-OSA automatically calculates the center wavelength of the input, which can be displayed in a window just below the main display that presents the overall spectrum. The central wavelength, λ, is calculated by counting interference fringes (periods in the interferogram) from both the input and reference lasers according to the following formula:

OSA Equation 1

Here, mref is the number of fringes for the reference laser, mmeas is the number of fringes from the input laser, nref is the index of refraction of air at the reference laser wavelength (632.991 nm), and λref,vac is the vacuum wavelength of the reference laser. nmeas is the index of refraction of air at the wavelength λmeas,vac and is determined iteratively from λmeas,air (that is, the measured wavelength in air) using a modified version of the Edlén formula.

The resolution of the FT-OSA operating as a wavelength meter is substantially higher than the system when it operates as a broadband spectrometer because the system can resolve a fraction of a fringe up to the limit set by the phase-locked loop multiplier (see the Interferogram Data Acquisition section above). In practice, the resolution of the system is limited by the bandwidth and structure of the unknown input, noise in the detectors, drift in the reference HeNe, interferometer alignment, and other systematic errors. In Wavelength Meter mode, the system has been found to offer reliable results as low as ±0.1 pm in the visible spectrum and ±0.2 pm in the NIR/IR (see the Specs tab for details).

The software evaluates the spectrum of the unknown input in order to determine an appropriate display resolution. If the data is unreliable, as would be the case for a multiple peak spectrum, the software disables the Wavelength Meter mode so it does not provide misleading results.

Wavelength Calibration and Accuracy

The FT-OSA instruments incorporate a stabilized HeNe reference laser with a vacuum wavelength of 632.991 nm. The use of a stabilized HeNe ensures long-term wavelength accuracy as the dynamics of the stabilized HeNe are well-known and controlled. The instrument is factory-aligned so that the reference HeNe and unknown input beams experience the same optical path length change as the interferometer is scanned. The effect of any residual alignment error on wavelength measurements is less than 0.5 ppm; the input beam pointing accuracy is ensured by a high-precision ceramic receptacle and a robust interferometer cavity design. No optical fibers are used within the scanning interferometer. The wavelength of the reference HeNe in air is actively calculated for each measurement using the Edlén formula with temperature and pressure data collected by sensors internal to the instrument.

For customers operating in the visible spectrum, the influence of relative humidity (RH) on the refractive index of air can affect the accuracy of the measurements. To compensate for this, the software allows the assumed RH value to be set manually. The effect of the humidity is negligible in the infrared.

Distance from 1550 nm Peak Optical Rejection Ratio
0.2 nm (25 GHz) 30 dB
0.4 nm (50 GHz) 30 dB
0.8 nm (100 GHz) 30 dB
4 nm (500 GHz) 39 dB
8 nm (1000 GHz) 43 dB

This table provides the Optical Rejection Ratio at 1550 nm for the OSA203C with the following settings: High Resolution, Low Sensitivity, Average = 4, Hann apodization. All OSA models show similar behavior if the distance from the peak is measured in GHz (units of frequency).

Optical Rejection Ratio

The ability to measure low-level signals close to a peak is determined by the optical rejection ratio (ORR) of the instrument. It can be seen as the filter response of the OSA, and can be defined as the ratio between the power at a given distance from the peak and the power at the peak.

If the ORR is not higher than the optical signal-to-noise ratio of the source to be tested, the measurement will be limited by the OSA's response, rather than reflecting a true property of the tested source. The table to the right provides an example.

OSA Free-Space Input
Click to Enlarge

View Imperial Product List
Item #QtyDescription
OSA205C1Fourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzer, 1.0 - 5.6 µm
CRM12Cage Rotation Mount for Ø1" Optics, SM1 Threaded, 8-32 Tap
LPMIR050-MP22Ø12.5 mm SM05-Mounted Linear Polarizer, 1500 - 5000 nm
SM1A62Adapter with External SM1 Threads and Internal SM05 Threads, 0.15" Thick
ER4-P41Cage Assembly Rod, 4" Long, Ø6 mm, 4 Pack
View Metric Product List
Item #QtyDescription
OSA205C1Fourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzer, 1.0 - 5.6 µm
CRM1/M2Cage Rotation Mount for Ø1" Optics, SM1 Threaded, M4 Tap
LPMIR050-MP22Ø12.5 mm SM05-Mounted Linear Polarizer, 1500 - 5000 nm
SM1A62Adapter with External SM1 Threads and Internal SM05 Threads, 0.15" Thick
ER4-P41Cage Assembly Rod, 4" Long, Ø6 mm, 4 Pack
Cage-Mounted Polarizers in Front of Free-Space Input (OSA205C Shown)
OSA Free-Space Input
Click to Enlarge

Free-Space Optical Input Behind Door (OSA205C Shown)

Directly Compatible with Free-Space Beams

Thorlabs' OSAs each include a free-space optical input aperture, allowing them to directly accept collimated beams up to a maximum beam size of Ø6 mm. To align the input light source with respect to the OSA's internal interferometer, a red, Class 1 alignment beam, which is activated by a rotating switch, is emitted from the aperture. The input source should be made collinear to the alignment beam for the OSA to provide optimal measurement accuracy. Four 4-40 taps around the input aperture enable compatibility with our 30 mm cage system; use cage rods no shorter than 1.5" to prevent attached cage components from clashing with the door.

The interferometer assembly normally "floats" on gel bushings inside the case. When using the free-space input, it may be desirable to lock the interferometer to the optical table surface. This can be accomplished by using the provided mounting feet (see the Shipping List tab) to secure the OSA using two of Thorlabs' CF175C(/M) clamping forks, as illustrated by the images below.

When the interferometer is locked to an optical table, the beam height is 61 mm (2.4") from the table surface. To adjust the input beam height to that of the OSA's input, we recommend using Thorlabs' RS99(/M) Periscope Assembly or a periscope constructed with our DP14A(/M) Damped Post.

We recommend only using the posts supplied with the OSA to secure it to the optical table. Other posts, such as our Ø1/2" optical posts, should not be used to secure the OSA; they will not provide adequate support because the OSA weighs ~20 lbs (~10 kg). We also do not recommend using long optical posts to raise the OSA off of the optical table surface.

OSA205 with Mounting Post Foot
Click to Enlarge

The underside of the OSA has M4-tapped holes that accept the three mounting feet included with the unit (see the Shipping List tab). These posts can be secured to an optical table using two CF175C(/M) Clamping Forks, which locks the OSA's internal interferometer assembly to the table surface.
OSA Free-Space Input
Click to Enlarge

View Imperial Product List
Item #QtyDescription
Optical Spectrum Analyzer
OSA205C1Fourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzer, 1.0 - 5.6 µm
Items Attached to Optical Spectrum Analyzer
KCB11Right-Angle Kinematic Mirror Mount with Tapped Cage Rod Holes, 30 mm Cage System and SM1 Compatible, 8-32 and 1/4"-20 Mounting Holes
PF10-03-P011Ø1" Protected Silver Mirror, 6.0 mm Thick
ER3-P41Cage Assembly Rod, 3" Long, Ø6 mm, 4 Pack
ERSCA-P41Rod Adapter for Ø6 mm ER Rods, 4 Pack
CF175C1Clamping Fork, 1.76" Counterbored Slot, 1/4"-20 Captive Screw
Other Items
LDM9T1Laser Diode Mount with Integrated Temperature Controller
ML725B8F11310 nm, 5 mW, Ø5.6 mm, D Pin Code, Laser Diode
C171TMD-C1f = 6.20 mm, NA = 0.30, Mounted Geltech Aspheric Lens, AR: 1050-1700 nm
S1TM081SM1 to M8 x 0.5 Lens Cell Adapter
POLARIS-K12Polaris® Ø1" Mirror Mount, 3 Adjusters
PF10-03-P011Ø1" Protected Silver Mirror, 6.0 mm Thick
RS1P8E2Ø1" Pedestal Pillar Post, 8-32 Taps, L = 1"
RS4M1Ø25 mm Post Spacer, Thickness = 4 mm
RS10M1Ø25 mm Post Spacer, Thickness = 10 mm
CF175C2Clamping Fork, 1.76" Counterbored Slot, 1/4"-20 Captive Screw
View Metric Product List
Item #QtyDescription
Optical Spectrum Analyzer
OSA205C1Fourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzer, 1.0 - 5.6 µm
Items Attached to Optical Spectrum Analyzer
KCB1/M1Right-Angle Kinematic Mirror Mount with Tapped Cage Rod Holes, 30 mm Cage System and SM1 Compatible, M4 and M6 Mounting Holes
PF10-03-P011Ø1" Protected Silver Mirror, 6.0 mm Thick
ER3-P41Cage Assembly Rod, 3" Long, Ø6 mm, 4 Pack
ERSCA-P41Rod Adapter for Ø6 mm ER Rods, 4 Pack
CF175C/M1Clamping Fork, 44.8 mm Counterbored Slot, M6 x 1.0 Captive Screw
Other Items
LDM9T/M1Laser Diode Mount with Integrated Temperature Controller, Metric
ML725B8F11310 nm, 5 mW, Ø5.6 mm, D Pin Code, Laser Diode
C171TMD-C1f = 6.20 mm, NA = 0.30, Mounted Geltech Aspheric Lens, AR: 1050-1700 nm
S1TM081SM1 to M8 x 0.5 Lens Cell Adapter
POLARIS-K12Polaris® Ø1" Mirror Mount, 3 Adjusters
PF10-03-P011Ø1" Protected Silver Mirror, 6.0 mm Thick
RS1P4M2Ø25.0 mm Pedestal Pillar Post, M4 Taps, L = 25 mm
RS4M1Ø25 mm Post Spacer, Thickness = 4 mm
RS10M1Ø25 mm Post Spacer, Thickness = 10 mm
CF175C/M2Clamping Fork, 44.8 mm Counterbored Slot, M6 x 1.0 Captive Screw
An OSA205C secured to an optical table and used to measure the free-space beam of a laser diode. The laser diode is mounted in an LDM9T Laser Diode Mount, and the beam is redirected by mirrors mounted in POLARIS-K1 and KCB1 Kinematic Mounts.

Software

Version 2.80

Includes a GUI for controlling the OSA, as well as a "virtual device" mode ideal for evaluating the software prior to purchase.

Software Download

Software for the Optical Spectrum Analyzer and CCD Spectrometers

Each Optical Spectrum Analyzer includes a Windows® laptop with our OSA software suite pre-installed. This software features a straightforward, intuitive, responsive interface that exposes all functions in one or two clicks. We regularly update this software to add significant new features and make improvements suggested by our users. Several key functions are explained in the Tutorial Videos tab.

The software download page also offers programming reference notes for interfacing with our Optical Spectrum Analyzers using LabVIEW™, Visual C++, Visual C#, and Visual Basic. Please see the Programming Reference tab on the software download page for more information and download links.

This software package is also compatible with Thorlabs' Compact CCD Spectrometers.

 

Software Highlights

The text below summarizes several key features of the OSA software suite. Complete details on the software are available from the manual (PDF link).


Click to Enlarge

Peak Track Mode Used with 7.9 µm Quantum Cascade Laser

Click to Enlarge

Wavelength Meter Observes Mode Hopping of 3.392 µm HeNe

Click to Enlarge

Coherence Length and Power of 1550 nm Superluminescent Diode (SLD)

Built-In Tools for Simple and Complex Analysis
The OSA software displays either the fast-Fourier-transformed spectrum or the raw interferogram obtained by the instrument. In the main window, it is possible to average multiple spectra; display the X axis in units of nm, cm-1, THz, or eV; compare the live spectrum to previously saved traces; perform algebraic manipulations on data; and calculate common quantities such as transmittance and absorbance.

Robust graph manipulation tools include automatic and manual scaling of the displayed portion of the trace and markers for determining exact data values and visualizing data boundaries. Automated peak and valley tracking modules (see the screenshot to the right) identify up to 2048 peaks or valleys within a user-defined wavelength range and follow them over a long period of time. Statistical parameters of traces such as standard deviations, RMS values, and weighted averages are available, and a curve fit module fits polynomials, Gaussians, and Lorentzians to the spectrum or interferogram.

Acquired data can be saved as a spectrum file that can be loaded quickly into the main window. Data can also be exported into Matlab, Galactic SPC, CSV, and text formats.

Adjustable Sensitivity and Resolution Settings
The scan sensitivity and resolution can be adjusted by the user to balance the needs of the experiment against the data acquisition rate. These settings vary the number of data points per interferogram from 0.5 million to 16 million. The sensitivity setting modifies the range of detector gain levels, while the resolution setting controls the optical path difference (OPD). The table in the Specs tab shows how the data acquisition rate depends upon the chosen settings.

Wavelength Meter Module for Narrowband Sources
For sources with <10 GHz linewidth, the Wavelength Meter module enables extremely accurate determinations of the center wavelength (±1 ppm accuracy, 0.2 ppm precision, and 0.1 ppm resolution). This mode allows the system to resolve a fraction of a fringe in the interferogram, using the phase-locked loop that is generated by the internal stabilized reference HeNe laser (see Interferogram Data Acquisition in the Design tab for details). The uncertainty in the measurement is continuously determined and displayed as gray numbers.

As shown in the image to the right, a built-in module plots the output of the wavelength meter measurement as a function of time. If the software determines that the wavelength meter will give inaccurate results (as it would for broadband sources), it is automatically disabled.

Coherence Length Module for Broadband Sources
Because Thorlabs' OSAs obtain the raw interferogram of the unknown source (as opposed to grating-based spectrum analyzers, which cannot offer this capability), the software is able to calculate the coherence length of the input signal, as shown by the screenshot to the right. The Coherence Length module considers the envelope of the interferogram and reports the optical path length over which the envelope's amplitude decays to 1/e of its maximum value on both sides.

The ability to view the raw interferogram in real time allows the user to confirm the coherence length reported by the software and adjust the signal amplitude to avoid saturation. The maximum coherence length measurable by the OSA is limited by the maximum optical path difference of ±4 cm in high-resolution mode, making this module best suited for broadband sources.

Apodization and Interferogram Truncation
Since the resolution of any Fourier-transformed spectrum is intrinsically constrained by the finite path length over which the interferogram is measured, the software implements several functions to account for the effect of the finite path length on the spectrum that is obtained. The user may select from a number of apodization methods (dampening functions), including cosine, triangular, Blackman-Harris, Gaussian, Hamming, Hann, and Norton-Beer functions, and the effective optical path length can also be shortened to eliminate contributions from high-frequency spectral components.

Libraries for LabVIEW, C, C++, C#, and Java
Device interface libraries containing a multitude of routines for data acquisition, instrument control, and spectral processing and manipulation are also provided with the instrument. These libraries can be used to develop customized software using LabVIEW, C, C++, C#, Java, or other programming languages. We also provide a set of LabVIEW routines to assist with writing your own applications.

Spectroscopic Analysis from HITRAN Reference Database
In environmental sensing and telecom applications, it is often useful to identify atmospheric compounds (such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and acetylene) whose absorption lines overlap with that of the unknown source being measured. Some example measurements are shown below. The OSA software includes built-in support for HITRAN line-by-line references, which can be used to calculate absorption cross sections as a function of vapor pressure and temperature. The predictions can be fit to the measured trace for comparison, and fits using mixtures of gases are supported. See the Gas Spectroscopy tab for an example setup.


Click to Enlarge

Experimentally Measured Water Absorbance in MIR

Click to Enlarge

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Absorption Before and After Baseline Correction
720p Resolution Button for Video Player
720p Resolution Setting
Fullscreen Button for Video Player
Full Screen Button

Software Tutorial Videos

To help customers learn about, use, and understand the Optical Spectrum Analyzer software, we have prepared several short narrated videos that describe the basic aspects of the software and the optimal settings for common types of measurements. Although the OSA model shown in the videos has been discontinued, the principles of operation have not changed.

Full Screen, 720p Resolution Recommended
In order to be able to read the text in the videos, we strongly recommend viewing these videos at full screen, 720p resolution. To expand the video to full screen, click on the button shown in the screenshot above. Pressing the Escape key will restore the video to its original size. To choose 720p resolution, use the Quality menu, which appears after clicking on the gear icon, as shown by the screenshot to the right.

Basic Features of OSA Software

Topics Covered

  • Acquiring Single and Averaged Spectra
  • Selecting Units
  • Saving, Retrieving, and Exporting Spectra to Different Programs
  • Using Markers

Length: 4:41

Tips for Choosing the Best Acquisition Settings

Topics Covered

  • Appropriate Settings for Narrowband and Broadband Sources
    • Resolution
    • Sensitivity
    • Apodization
  • Isolating Low-Frequency Signals from High-Frequency Noise (in Broadband Sources)

Length: 3:54

Measuring a Narrowband Source

Topics Covered

  • Calculating Center Wavelength and Linewidth with Peak Tracking and Wavelength Meter
  • Resolution, Sensitivity, and Apodization Settings
  • Tracking and Recording Measurements Over a Long Time Period

Length: 3:13

Measuring Optical Input Power

Topics Covered

  • Using Markers to Select an Integration Range
  • Viewing the Source's Coherence Length in Interferogram Mode

Length: 1:24

Performing a Filter Measurement

Topics Covered

  • OSA Software Calculates Transmission and Absorbance from a Baseline
  • Peak Tracking Mode Determines Center Wavelength and Full Width at Half Max of Filter

Length: 2:38

OSA201C and OSA202C Contents
Click to Enlarge

OSA202C Contents (North American Power Cords Shown)

Shipping List

Every OSA order includes the following:

  • Optical Spectrum Analyzer
  • Windows® 8 Laptop
    • Includes Pre-Installed OSA Software and a Mouse
    • U.S. English Configuration
  • Factory Calibration Report
  • OSA and Laptop Power Supplies with Region-Specific Power Cords
  • High-Speed USB 2.0 Cable (Replacement Item # USB-A-79)
    • Connects the OSA to the Laptop
  • Three Mounting Feet
    • Used to Secure the Interferometer to an Optical Table (See Free-Space Coupling Tab)
  • SPW603 Spanner Wrench and VP10C Vacuum Pickup Tool
    • Used to Remove Protective Window in Front of Free-Space Input in Cases When
      Etalons are Visible in the Spectrum

Analyzing Pulsed Sources Using the OSA

Introduction and Summary of Results
While Thorlabs' Optical Spectrum Analyzers (OSAs) have been designed for analysis of CW signals, it is possible to measure pulsed spectra under certain situations. Measurement of pulsed spectra suffers from several issues that must be overcome for accurate measurements; for instance, "spectral ghosts" arise due to the pulsed nature of the source as well as the varying optical path difference (OPD) of the OSA. In addition, the noise floor for pulsed sources is much higher than that for CW sources. One method for measuring pulsed sources with the OSA involves taking several successive measurements at the four different sensitivity levels; the minimum at each wavelength of these four traces is used to form a combined spectrum, which suppresses the spectral ghosts. This technique is implemented in the OSA software by choosing "Pulsed" under the "Sweep" tab. The following tutorial explains the rationale of this technique and the pulsed sources for which it is useful.

In summary, for pulse rates over 30 kHz, standard mode can be used because the repetition rate is greater than the detectors' bandwidth. For broadband signals with low repetition rates, care must be taken to ensure that the "zero burst" of the interferogram coincides with one of the pulses. Also, when using a pulsed source "Automatic Gain" does not work properly, so the user must monitor the interferogram and manually set the gain so that a strong, but not saturated, signal is obtained.

Impact of a Pulsed Source on the Interferogram and Spectrum
As the Optical Path Difference (OPD) continuously changes during an interferogram measurement, a pulsed light source effectively modulates the interferogram. In the case of 100% modulation (i.e. on-off pulsation), the resulting interferogram will contain repetitive regions (slots) with no information. These slots correspond to OPDs when no light can be measured by the detector assembly. The resulting interferogram in this case is the true interferogram masked with the pulsed signal. Figure 1 shows measured interferograms and the corresponding spectra for a light source in CW and pulsed operation. Although the spectrum of the light source is expected to be the same for CW and pulsed operation (ignoring small changes in the peak shape and position due to, for example, a decreased LD chip temperature resulting from the pulsed drive), additional frequency artifacts appear symmetrically about the expected peak due to the modulation in the pulsed interferogram. These "spectral ghosts" are a result of the temporal, rather than the spectral, behavior of the source. To measure the true spectrum of the light source, it is crucial to make the spectral ghosts sufficiently small or force the spectral ghosts to fall outside the frequency / wavelength range of interest.

Pulsed_Source_Interferogram
Figure 1: Measured interferograms and spectra for a narrowband light source in CW (Top) and pulsed at 20 kHz (Bottom)
operation. The square wave modulation of the interferogram induces the spectral ghosts shown in the bottom left plot.

Figure 2: Effect of Repetition Rate on Spectral Ghosts
Click to Enlarge

Figure 2: Stacked spectra for 55 pulse repetition rates between 100 Hz and 100 kHz for a 1550 nm DFB laser diode. The intensity is mapped in a logarithmic scale. OSA settings: High Resolution, High Sensitivity, No Apodization, 5 averages.

Mathematically, the resultant spectrum of a pulsed source can be described by a convolution between the spectrum of the light source and the spectrum corresponding to the pulses. As a result, the impact of these artifacts will vary with the pulse repetition rate and the modulation depth of the light source as well as the OPD sample rate (cm/s) of the OSA. The modulation depth of the light source determines the amplitude of the spectral ghosts; a weak modulation yields weak spectral ghosts while a modulation of 100% (on-off pulsation) yields the strongest spectral ghosts.

Figure 2 shows how the behavior of the spectral ghosts as a function of the pulse repetition rate for a narrowband source. In the figure, the spectra were measured for 55 pulse repetition rates between 100 Hz and 100 kHz for a 1550 nm DFB laser diode. We have offset the y-axis such that the true peak (the light gray horizontal line) has been centered at a relative frequency of 0 THz. The figure can be divided into three regions: fp ≤ 3 kHz, 3 kHz < fp ≤ 30 kHz and fp >30 kHz. For fp ≤ 3 kHz, the spectral ghosts are clearly observed symmetrically about the true peak within the resultant spectrum, and move farther and farther away from the true peak as the repetition rate increases. The second region starts above 3 kHz, when the first spectral ghosts have moved beyond the spectral range of the OSA. However, aliasing / folding create higher order spectral ghosts that appear within the spectral range of the OSA. In the third region, fp > 30 kHz, the resulting spectrum agrees very well with the CW spectrum because the repetition rate of the source has extended beyond the bandwidth limit of the detectors. As a result, the pulsed source appears like a CW source to the OSA electronics.

 

"Pulsed Mode" Operation
To help remove some of these frequency artifacts, the OSA software contains a "Pulsed Mode" measurement (Figure 3). The "slot period" of the interferogram, determined by the pulse repetition rate of the light source and the OPD rate of the OSA, affects the positions of the spectral ghosts. A shorter slot period yields a larger spectral distance between the true peak and the first order ghost peaks. In Thorlabs' OSAs, the OPD sample rate is given by the speed of the moving carriage which can be controlled by the user indirectly through the sensitivity setting. The higher the sensitivity setting is, the speed of the moving carriage will be slower. Thus, the use of the "High" sensitivity mode of the OSA will provide the shortest slot period (i.e. the largest spacing between the feature of interest and the frequency artifacts). In pulsed mode, the software acquires four spectra with different sensitivity settings (or OPD sample rates) and filters out the changing spectral features. The sensitivity is first set to low, followed by Medium-Low, Medium-High, and High before it again is set to Low yielding a periodically changing sensitivity. The captured spectra are then combined using the minimum hold function. The spectral ghosts (Figure 4), whose positions depend on the sensitivity setting (the OPD rate), can then be reduced in the measurement as shown in Figure 4. It is important to note that the Pulse Mode button is found under the "Sweep" menu and can be started only after the current sweep has been completely stopped.

Figure 2: OSA in Pulsed Mode
Click to Enlarge

Figure 3: Screenshot of the OSA software in Pulsed
Mode; the icon is indicated with a red circle.
Figure 2: OSA in Pulsed Mode
Click to Enlarge

Figure 4: (Left) Measured spectra for a narrowband light source pulsed at 1 kHz with (from top to bottom) Low, Medium-Low, Medium-High, and High sensitivity settings (i.e. a decreasing OPD sample rate from top to bottom). (Right) Measured spectrum using the Pulsed Mode, i.e., a minimum hold combination of spectra similar to those shown in the bottom left plots.

 

Narrowband Light Source
A DFB laser diode emitting at 1550 nm (193.7 THz) was used as a narrowband light source and measured with an OSA203C in both CW and pulsed operation. The laser diode was modulated (using Thorlabs' ITC4001 controller) with repetition rates between fp = 20 Hz and 100 kHz. Five averaged spectra were captured for each light source setting; the CW spectra were acquired in high sensitivity mode, and the pulsed spectra were recorded in both high sensitivity and pulsed mode. It is important to note that the pulsed mode does not allow averaging. Instead the minimum hold function was used for 5 sets of spectra from the four different sensitivity settings.

Figure 5 shows the resultant spectra for the source in CW mode as well as four different pulse repetition rates between 100 Hz and 100 kHz. As the pulse rate increases, the spectral ghosts (as recorded in the high sensitivity mode) move further and further away from the true laser peak until nearly identical spectra are obtained at 100 kHz.

Figure 3: CW and Pulsed Measurements of Narrowband Source
Figure 5: Spectra from measurements of a 1550 nm (193.7 THz) pulsed narrowband source. Pulse repetition rates shown (left to right): 100 Hz, 1 kHz, 13 kHz, and 100 kHz. Black line: CW measurement; blue line: pulsed source measured with high sensitivity; red line: pulsed source measured using the pulsed mode. The lower plots are the same data set as the upper plots only on a shorter frequency scale.

 

Broadband Light Source
A gain chip was driven in amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) mode to create a broadband light source centered at 850 nm (352.9 THz) with a FWHM of 36.4 nm (15.2 THz). An OSA201C was used to measure the spectrum for CW and pulsed operation with pulse repetition rates from fp = 100 Hz to 100 kHz. The ASE diode was modulated (using Thorlabs' ITC4001 controller) with a 50% duty cycle square wave. A total of 10 averaged spectra were acquired using high sensitivity (CW and pulsed sources) and the pulsed mode (pulsed source). Because pulsed mode does not allow averaging, the minimum hold function was used to acquire five sets of the four different sensitivity settings.

In general, the spectral ghosts are less visible for the broadband peak compared to a narrowband peak. However, the noise floor is higher and the spectral ghosts are clearly seen for a repetition rate of 1 kHz and 13 kHz in Figure 6. Similar to the narrowband source, the spectral ghosts move farther and farther away from the true peak with increasing repetition rate. For a repetition rate of 100 kHz both the measurement using high sensitivity and pulsed mode agree well with the CW measurement. As seen, the shape of the peak is slightly different for the CW spectrum compared to the pulsed spectrum. This is not related to the behavior of the OSA but due to a true change in the peak during pulsed operation, e.g., a lower chip temperature.

Figure 6: Pulsed Broadband Source
Figure 6: Measured spectra from a pulsed broadband source with a center wavelength (frequency) of 850 nm (352.9 THz). The pulse repetition rates shown are 100 Hz, 1 kHz, 13 kHz, and 100 kHz. Top and bottom rows show the full spectrum and the ±50 THz range surrounding the peak, respectively. Black line: CW; blue line: pulsed source measured using high sensitivity; red line: Pulsed Mode.

It is extremely important to note that in general, one has to be careful when measuring broadband peaks at low repetition rates. Since most of the information in the interferogram is located about the zero burst, the peak can be completely missed if the zero burst coincides with no light falling on the detector as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Alignment of the Zero Burst for Broadband Signals
Figure 7: Measured interferograms (left) and spectra (right) obtained when the zero burst resulting from a broadband
source coincides with a pulse (blue curves) and is missed if no light reaches the detector at OBD ~ 0 (red curves).

 

Figure 8: Femtosecond Pulsed Laser Spectrum
Click to Enlarge

Figure 8: (Top) Central portion of a captured interferogram from a broadband femtosecond laser. (Bottom) Measured spectrum captured using an OSA201 (red line) and a measured reference spectrum captured using a scanning grating-based OSA (blue line).

Femtosecond Pulsed Laser
We measured the spectrum of a broadband femtosecond laser (Thorlabs' OCTAVIUS-85M-HP) using an OSA201C. This laser has a repetition rate of 85 MHz, a pulse width of 10 fs, and an average power of about 300 µW into the fiber. The OSA was set to Low Resolution, High Sensitivity, 5 spectral averages, and no apodization. Light output from the laser was collected with a fiber patch cable (SM600 fiber; 0.12 NA, 4.6 µm mode field diameter at 680 nm) connected to the OSA.

Figure 8 shows the interferogram collected during acquisition, which does not contain any empty slots. This was expected as the 85 MHz repetition rate of the laser is well beyond the 40 kHz bandwidth of the OSA's detectors. Furthermore, the spectrum measured by the OSA agrees very well with the reference spectrum captured using a grating-based OSA that is scanned slowly enough to provide adequate signal for each wavelength measured.

Item # Frequency Range Level Sensitivity
(Click for Graph)a
OSA207C 833 - 10 000 cm-1
(12.0 - 1.0 µm)
Absolute Power Graph
Absolute Power


Power Density Graph
Power Density
OSA205C 1786 - 10 000 cm-1
(5.6 - 1.0 µm)
OSA203C 3846 - 10 000 cm-1
(2.6 - 1.0 µm)
  • Lower values of Level Sensitivity correspond to improved detection sensitivity. We therefore recommend selecting the OSA which provides the lowest level sensitivity for the analytes you intend to study.
Hose Connections
Click to Enlarge

Hose Connections for Purging OSA Cavity

Gas Detection and Identification Using an Optical Spectrum Analyzer

As shown in the table to the right, many of Thorlabs' Optical Spectrum Analyzers (OSAs) offer detection extending into the mid-infrared (MIR) region of the spectrum, where many gaseous species characteristically absorb. Moreover, the software included with all OSA models supports files from the HITRAN database, a spectroscopic reference standard. These files can be fit to measured traces to identify unknown gases. With the ability to fit multiple analytes simultaneously and built-in hose connections (compatible with Thorlabs' Pure Air Circulator Unit) for purging the interferometer's cavity of trace gases, these OSAs are ideal for use in home-built gas detection setups.

 

Experimental Setup
A sample detection setup is shown below. Broadband MIR light generated by a Stabilized Light Source is emitted from a zirconium fluoride fiber (1), collimated, then sent into a multipass cell (2) containing the gas analyte in a sample chamber. Each end of the chamber is sealed by an airtight, transparent window. Gold mirrors on each side of the chamber provide multiple reflections that increase the sensitivity of the measurement; the mirror closer to the light source has a center hole to allow the optical path to enter and exit the chamber. Light exiting the detection setup is collimated by a long-focal-length lens and reflected by a D-shaped mirror into the free-space port of the OSA203C (3). The temperature inside the chamber is elevated and held constant in order to prevent the gas's absorption lines from shifting during the measurement.

Gas Detection Setup
Click to Enlarge

A gas detection setup using the OSA203C. A multipass cell is constructed around the sample chamber (2) in order to provide high detection sensitivity for the gaseous species sealed inside.
Parts Used in Sample Setup
(Click Here for a Metric Item List)
Item # Qty. Description
Light Source 1
SLS202L 1 Stabilized Fiber-Coupled Light Source, 450 nm - 5.5 µm
(Not Shown)
FB2000-500 1 Ø1" Bandpass Filter, 2.0 µm CWL, 0.5 µm FWHM (Not Shown)
MZ21L1 1 ZrF4 Multimode Fiber Patch Cable, SMA905 Connectors
F028SMA-2000 1 SMA905 Fiber Collimator, AR Coated: 1.8 - 3.0 µm
POLARIS-K1 1 Polaris™ Ø1" Kinematic Mirror Mount
AD11NT 1 Unthreaded Adapter for Ø11 mm Cylindrical Components
Detection 3
OSA203C 1 Optical Spectrum Analyzer, 1.0 - 2.6 µm
TC200 2 Temperature Controller
MB1218 1 12" x 18" Aluminum Breadboard
CF125C 3 Clamping Fork with Captive Screw
Other Optomechanics
RS2 6 Ø1" Pillar Post, Length = 2"
RS3 1 Ø1" Pillar Post, Length = 3"
RS4 2 Ø1" Pillar Post, Length = 4"
BA2F 9 Flexure Clamping Base
Parts Used in Sample Setup (Continued)
(Click Here for a Metric Item List)
Item # Qty. Description
Beam Path Into and Out of Multipass Cell 2
LB4374 1 Uncoated, Ø1", f = 1000 mm Bi-Convex UV Fused Silica Lens
CP02 1 Post-Mountable, SM1-Threaded Cage Plate for Ø1" Optics
CM750-200-M01 2 Ø75 mm, f = 200 mm Protected Gold Concave Mirror
(One Mirror Contains a Center Hole, Similar
to Our Herriott Cell Mirrors)
KS3 2 Kinematic Mount for Ø3" Mirrors
VPCH512 2 Ø2.75" ConFlat Flange with CaF2 Window, 180 nm - 8.0 µm
N/A 1 Sample Chamber
C1513 1 Kinematic V-Clamp Mount
PM4 2 Clamping Arm
(One Clamping Arm is Included with Each C1513 Mount)
P6 1 Ø1.5" Mounting Post, Length = 6"
PB2 1 Base for Ø1.5" Mounting Posts
PFD10-03-M01 1 1" Protected Gold D-Shaped Pickoff Mirror
KM100D 1 Kinematic Mount for 1" D-Shaped Pickoff Mirrors
MB624 1 6" x 24" Aluminum Breadboard

 

Assigning Peaks in an Unknown Spectrum
Once the experimental spectrum is obtained, the user chooses a gas or gas mixture that is believed to be present inside the sample chamber, as shown in the figure below to the left. There is no limit to how many species can be considered in the fit, but the fit is more likely to converge when fewer species are chosen. The OSA software ships with HITRAN line-by-line references for acetylene (C2H2), water vapor (H2O), and carbon dioxide (CO2), and can import additional references downloaded from the HITRAN database. Previously saved spectra in the OSA file format can also be used as references. See the References section of the OSA manual for details.

The user may optionally allow the software to shift the reference spectrum in wavelength in order to account for measurement effects related to the sample environment. In the case of gas mixtures (i.e., fits performed using more than one reference spectrum), the software scales the intensity of each reference as needed to reproduce the measured spectrum. As shown in the figure below to the right, the output of the fit operation is a graph comparing the measured spectrum, each scaled (and possibly also shifted) reference spectrum, and the sum of the scaled reference spectra.

Selecting Gas Species for a Fit
Click to Enlarge

In the Reference Fit Setup tab, checkboxes are used to indicate which gaseous species to consider in the fit. The absorption lines can be either "fixed" or "free"; the latter allows the software to shift the reference spectrum in wavelength. The measurement conditions for the HITRAN references are also displayed.
Fit Results
Click to Enlarge

In the Reference Fit Result tab, the fitted spectrum is displayed simultaneously with the measured spectrum. The fitted spectrum is the sum of the scaled reference spectra included in the fit. The scaled spectrum for each individual gaseous species is also shown.
Olle Rosenqvist
Olle Rosenqvist
OSA R&D Manager

Feedback?
Questions?
Need a Quote?

Contact Me

Custom OSA Options

  • Optical Input
    • FC/PC, FC/APC, or SMA905 Fiber Receptacles
    • Permanently Installed Optical Bandpass and Notch Filters Before Interferometer
  • Application-Optimized Detectors
    • High Sensitivity for Low-Level Signal Detection, Such as in Fluorescence or Raman Measurements
    • Wavelength Range and Noise Floor Chosen to Match a Specific Light Source
  • Custom Software Modules for Data Analysis

Thorlabs' in-stock OSA models offer a number of detection options for various experimental situations. We invite customers whose needs are not addressed by these models to tailor an OSA to a specific application by working with our engineering and manufacturing team.

In the past, we have built OSAs with user-specified optical inputs, such as FC/APC and SMA905 fiber receptacles, and we have incorporated optical bandpass and notch filters directly into the optical path to reduce light source noise. For customers who use these instruments for sample characterization, our software team has implemented user-designed data analysis modules within the standard OSA software suite.

We have also worked with our customers to choose detector elements targeted at specific light sources and analytes. The graphs below were obtained from custom-built OSAs that were designed for especially high detection sensitivity. Our engineers are well-versed in the tradeoffs between detection bandwidth, sensitivity, and linearity, and can make recommendations based upon the needs of the application and prior customers' experiences. By constraining the OSA's design for a particular use case, additional performance enhancements for that application can be realized.

If you would like to discuss a custom OSA, please contact us with your experimental requirements.

High-Sensitivity OSAs

High-Sensitivity Optical Spectrum Analyzer
Click to Enlarge

At typical humidities, water absorption peaks in the spectrum of Thorlabs' SLS202L light source drop well below the noise floor of the OSA205C. For MIR applications that require such peaks to be resolved, we have qualified two MCT (HgCdTe) detector elements which achieve significantly lower noise floors, in exchange for a narrower wavelength range and lower maximum input power.

Detection of Mid-IR Fluorescence
Click to Enlarge

A user requested an OSA capable of detecting photoluminescence from wafers that emit in the 2 - 4 µm spectral range. We provided a custom-built OSA with a greatly reduced noise floor as compared to the OSA205C, which easily detected the predicted signal.


Please Give Us Your Feedback
 
Email Feedback On
(Optional)
Contact Me:
Your email address will NOT be displayed.
 
 
Please type the following key into the field to submit this form:
Click Here if you can not read the security code.
This code is to prevent automated spamming of our site
Thank you for your understanding.
  
 
Would this product be useful to you?   Little Use  1234Very Useful

Enter Comments Below:
 
Characters remaining  8000   
Posted Comments:
Poster:adrien.mau
Posted Date:2017-07-20 14:06:22.52
Greetings, I'm currently using Thorlabs OSA207C. I'm working with a low power source so for alignment procedure I would like to use a powerful source (~100mW, that i can follow with infrared card sensors), can I align this input source while the alignment beam is on without damaging the OSA ? As the input source is locked when the alignment beam is on I was wondering if there was some kind of shutter inside, protecting the device. Many thanks, Adrien
Poster:tfrisch
Posted Date:2017-07-26 01:58:41.0
Hi Adrien, thank you for contacting Thorlabs. We list the max input power at 10mW and the Input Damage Threshold as 20mW, so it would be best to attenuate your alignment beam. There is not a shutter separating the output alignment HeNe from the beam path of the input. Please let us know if you have any further questions.
Poster:qqaaww1
Posted Date:2017-02-16 09:17:52.383
I try to measure spectrum by OSA 202C. Device connected to PC. Software OSA 2.75 installed and communicates with device (I can view SN, status, etc.). But I can't get any data. Software writes 'Ref. low.' and 'Optimizing interferometer'. I try to use OSA 2.70 - same results. How to solve it?
Poster:tfrisch
Posted Date:2017-02-17 02:24:09.0
Hello, thank you for contacting Thorlabs. I will reach out to you directly to troubleshoot these errors.
Poster:ngaber
Posted Date:2015-05-25 17:22:13.79
I need to measure the spectrum of a TE signal. I am wondering if using your OSA with a PMF is possible. Is there any risk that any of the component inside may affect the SOP? Also I see that you provide a laptop with the OSA for the analysis; does the price indicated include that? And what if I don’t need the laptop and would like to have the software on a CD to be installed on our PC since we need further data processing by Matlab. Is that possible? And does that decreases the price? Thanks and advance, Best Regards,
Poster:jlow
Posted Date:2015-06-05 10:05:07.0
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: You should be able to use a PMF with the OSA. We can offer the OSA without the laptop as a special. I will contact you directly about this.
Poster:crollins
Posted Date:2014-03-28 10:47:49.773
I was wondering if it would be possible for both the OSA 201 and the OSA 205 to view and analyze non-coherent light sources? A lot of what I have seen here makes it sound like the equipment is only useful for lasers but I am looking to measure incandescent light sources. Would I need to create a set up with a fiberoptic cable to my light source? Would such a set up be possible because where my light source is probably isn't where I want my equipment to be so such a set up would be ideal?
Poster:besembeson
Posted Date:2014-04-03 06:32:36.0
Response from Bweh E at Thorlabs: This is a high precision instrument so it will mostly be used with coherent sources such as lasers. When used as a wavelength meter the precision is about 1 part-per-million (for example the resolution is around 0.2pm when looking at 1um wavelength). However, it can also be used with incandescent sources. Since these are generally incoherent (or have extremely short coherence lengths), you will need some kind of spatial filter (and maybe a spectral filter too) for this to be analyzed by the OSA. You can use up to a 50 micron fiber as a filter but your emission will have to be coupled into this fiber so you see the challenge. I was wondering if our compact CCD spectrometers (see: http://www.thorlabs.com/newgrouppage9.cfm?objectgroup_id=3482) would not be more suitable for your application. I will follow up with you via email to discuss this further.
Poster:bug99
Posted Date:2014-01-20 11:17:12.4
Dear Tim, could you, please, send me a trial file with any spectrum so I could put it into your software and see the program interface in full grace.
Poster:jlow
Posted Date:2014-01-27 01:37:27.0
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: We will send this to you.
Poster:tcohen
Posted Date:2012-11-15 12:29:00.0
Response from Tim at Thorlabs: The instrument is designed for measurements on CW light sources. The internal detectors in the OSA203 have a bandwidth of several 100kHz. Therefore, the rep rate of the laser will have to be in the MHz region for the OSA203 to work properly.
Poster:
Posted Date:2012-11-14 06:00:23.22
Can this OSA measure a laser beam working in pulse regime (10Hz - 10kHz) ?
Poster:tcohen
Posted Date:2012-11-07 21:30:00.0
Response from Tim at Thorlabs: Thank you for contacting us. We could stretch the OSA203 wavelength range towards 900nm while keeping the upper at 2500nm. However, the sensitivity will be lower below 1000nm. A typical scan rate can be ~2Hz for low resolution and low sensitivity and ~0.11 Hz for high resolution and high sensitivity. We have plans to extend our offering to include a 600-1700nm version of our OSA soon. We have contacted you to discuss your application further.
Poster:hormuth
Posted Date:2012-10-30 04:13:16.43
First: is it possible to extend the wavelength range of the OSA203 down to ~700nm while keeping the upper limit at 2500nm? Second: how long does one scan take with full resolution and with low resolution? We are interested in using this device for LED light analysis and for broadband filter measurements as well.
Poster:jlow
Posted Date:2012-08-22 14:37:00.0
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: For the OSA203, there's no external hardware trigger input for this functionality. However, you could do software triggering by implementing the data acquisition routine in your own software. The routines are provided with the device interface library.
Poster:avle
Posted Date:2012-08-19 21:04:39.0
for the osa203, is there an option for external trigger for the spectra capture?
Poster:tcohen
Posted Date:2012-04-03 09:28:00.0
Response from Tim at Thorlabs: Single mode fibers or 50um fibers (NA .22 or less) are recommended. The specification for absolute power accuracy only applies for single mode fibers. You are correct; there is a broadband collimator behind the port. Also, please note that although the standard receptacle is FC/PC others can be made on request.
Poster:cbrideau
Posted Date:2012-03-30 17:59:48.0
What size fiber (core) is recommended for the input? I assume there is a collimator just behind the port on the front of the box?
Poster:tcohen
Posted Date:2012-03-29 10:28:00.0
Response from Tim at Thorlabs: Thank you for your interest in our OSA! We have reserved the model name OSA202 for this wavelength range and have plans for it in our future product line. For your immediate needs I have contacted our design engineers about a custom quote and I will contact you directly with details.
Poster:avle
Posted Date:2012-03-27 00:10:56.0
Is OSA203 available with a detector range of 600-1700nm? Thanks!

Fourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzers

FC/PC Fiber Receptacle
Click to Enlarge

FC/PC Fiber Receptacle Behind Door (OSA202C Shown)
Free-Space Optical Input
Click to Enlarge

Free-Space Optical Input Behind Door (OSA202C Shown)
Hose Connections
Click to Enlarge

Rear-Mounted Hose Connections for Purging
OSA207 Free-Space Input
Click for Details

View Imperial Product List
Item #QtyDescription
OSA205C1Fourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzer, 1.0 - 5.6 µm
MPD029-M011Ø1/2" 90° Off-Axis Parabolic Mirror, Prot. Gold, RFL = 2"
CRM1P1Precision Cage Rotation Mount with Micrometer Drive, Ø1" Optics, 8-32 Tap
SM05MP1Externally SM05-Threaded Adapter for Ø1/2" Off-Axis Parabolic Mirrors
SM1A6T1Adapter with External SM1 Threads and Internal SM05 Threads, 0.40" Thick
SM05RR1SM05 Retaining Ring for Ø1/2" Lens Tubes and Mounts
SM1RR1SM1 Retaining Ring for Ø1" Lens Tubes and Mounts
ER4-P41Cage Assembly Rod, 4" Long, Ø6 mm, 4 Pack
View Metric Product List
Item #QtyDescription
OSA205C1Fourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzer, 1.0 - 5.6 µm
MPD029-M011Ø1/2" 90° Off-Axis Parabolic Mirror, Prot. Gold, RFL = 2"
CRM1P/M1Precision Cage Rotation Mount with Micrometer Drive, Ø1" Optics, M4 Tap
SM05MP1Externally SM05-Threaded Adapter for Ø1/2" Off-Axis Parabolic Mirrors
SM1A6T1Adapter with External SM1 Threads and Internal SM05 Threads, 0.40" Thick
SM05RR1SM05 Retaining Ring for Ø1/2" Lens Tubes and Mounts
SM1RR1SM1 Retaining Ring for Ø1" Lens Tubes and Mounts
ER4-P41Cage Assembly Rod, 4" Long, Ø6 mm, 4 Pack
Ø1/2" Off-Axis Parabolic Mirror in CRM1P Rotation Mount in Front of Free-Space Input
  • Available in Five Wavelength Ranges from 350 nm to 12.0 µm
  • Two Optical Input Ports
    • FC/PC Fiber-Coupled Input
    • Free-Space Input with Four 4-40 Taps for Our 30 mm Cage System
  • Built-In Hose Connections for Optional Purging
  • Includes Windows® Laptop and All Other Items Shown in Shipping List Tab Above
  • Demo Units Available by Contacting Tech Support

Thorlabs' OSAs measure the optical power of both narrowband and broadband sources as a function of wavelength. The maximum spectral resolution of 7.5 GHz (0.25 cm-1) is set by the maximum optical path length difference of ±4 cm, as explained in the Design tab, while the high spectral accuracy of ±2 ppm (parts per million) is ensured by simultaneously measuring the interferogram of a stabilized 632.991 nm HeNe laser. For sources with linewidth < 10 GHz, the Wavelength Meter mode provides center wavelength measurements with 0.1 ppm resolution and ±1 ppm accuracy.

Fiber-Coupled and Free-Space Inputs
All of our OSAs directly accept fiber-coupled or free-space optical inputs. The fiber-coupled input is compatible with single mode and multimode FC/PC patch cables. For multimode patch cables made from standard silica glass, cores up to Ø50 µm and NA up to 0.22 are recommended; for those made from fluoride glass, cores up to Ø100 µm and NA up to 0.26 are recommended. Single mode patch cables provide the highest contrast. OSAs with other fiber input receptacles are available by contacting Tech Support.

OSA Brochure Download

The free-space input aperture accepts collimated input beams up to a maximum beam size of Ø6 mm. To align the input light with respect to the OSA's internal interferometer, a red, Class 1 alignment beam, which is activated by a rotating switch, is emitted from the aperture. (See 2:47 in the video above for a demonstration.) The input beam should be made collinear to the alignment beam for the OSA to provide optimal measurement accuracy. Four 4-40 taps around the input aperture enable compatibility with our 30 mm cage system; use cage rods no shorter than 1.5" to prevent attached cage components from clashing with the door.

Hose Inlets for Optional Purging
To reduce the presence of water absorption lines in the measured spectrum, our OSAs offer two 1/4" ID quick-connect hose connections on the back panel, through which the interferometer can be purged with dry air. Thorlabs' Pure Air Circulator Unit is ideal for this task. Purging the OSA is not generally necessary, since none of the optics are made from hygroscopic materials. An example spectroscopy setup is described in the Gas Spectroscopy tab above.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available / Ships
OSA201C Support Documentation
OSA201CFourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzer, 350 - 1100 nm
$25,900.00
Today
OSA202C Support Documentation
OSA202CFourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzer, 600 - 1700 nm
$25,900.00
Today
OSA203C Support Documentation
OSA203CFourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzer, 1.0 - 2.6 µm
$27,150.00
Today
OSA205C Support Documentation
OSA205CFourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzer, 1.0 - 5.6 µm
$29,400.00
Today
OSA207C Support Documentation
OSA207CFourier Transform Optical Spectrum Analyzer, 1.0 - 12.0 µm
$33,750.00
Lead Time
Log In  |   My Account  |   Contact Us  |   Careers  |   Privacy Policy  |   Home  |   FAQ  |   Site Index
Regional Websites:East Coast US | West Coast US | Europe | Asia | China | Japan
Copyright 1999-2017 Thorlabs, Inc.
Sales: 1-973-300-3000
Technical Support: 1-973-300-3000


High Quality Thorlabs Logo 1000px:Save this Image

Last Edited: Jul 18, 2014 Author: Dan Daranciang