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Acousto-Optic Modulators

Modulators allow the intensity of light to be controlled and modulated at rates that far exceed mechanical shutters. Our acousto-optic modulators are optimized for low scatter and high laser damage thresholds.

For fiber coupled acousto-optic modulators, visit our Fiber-Q fiber coupled modulators page.

In order to identify the best acousto-optic modulator and RF driver solution, the key trade-off parameters to consider are the rise time, modulation rate, beam diameter, and optical power handling.

Optimized acousto-optic modulators

The most important factor in selecting a modulator is the required speed. This influences the choice of material, modulator design, and RF driver to be used.

The speed of a modulator is described by the rise time, which determines how quickly the modulator can respond to the applied RF driver and limits the modulation rate. Rise time is proportional to the time required for the acoustic wave to traverse the optical beam and for this reason, is influenced by the beam diameter within the modulator.

Modulators fall into two general categories as regards speed. Very fast modulators can provide modulation frequencies up to 200 MHz and can have a rise time as low as 4 ns. The input beam must be focused very tightly into the modulator to achieve this speed. Lower frequency modulators do not have this constraint, however, and can accept larger input beams. Their rise time is usually specified relative to the input beam diameter, in ns/mm.

If you require either fast repetition rates or large aperture sizes, our acousto-optic modulators are optimized for low scatter and high laser damage threshold, for reliable operation in a wide range of applications.

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