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nirvana auto-balanced optical receiver model 1837
Balanced Fiber-Optic Receiver, Nirvana, 900-1650 nm
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Balanced Optical Receiver, Nirvana, 400-1070 nm, 125 kHz, 8-32 / M4
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Balanced Optical Receiver, Nirvana, 800-1700 nm, 125 kHz, 8-32 / M4
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Reduces Common-Mode Noise by up to 50 dB

The Nirvana’s patented circuitry subtracts the reference and signal photocurrents, canceling noise signals that are common to both channels. This allow you to measure signal power with 50 dB less noise for the 125 kHz model and 25 dB less noise for the 1 GHz model than in a single-beam experiment.

Maintains Automatic DC Balance Between Reference and Signal Arms

Unlike conventional balanced receivers, the Nirvana’s electronic gain compensation automatically results in balanced detection, even if the average optical intensities on the two detectors are different and time-varying. The auto-balancing technology allows elimination of background noise from dynamically changing systems, including thermal drifting and wavelength dependence, enabling you to achieve the perfect power balance between reference and signal beams.

400-1070 nm or 800-1700 nm Versions

Two Nirvana photoreceivers are offered covering the 400-1070 nm or 800-1700 nm spectral ranges.

Auto-Balanced or Manual Balanced Modes

Nirvana photoreceivers operate in signal mode, balanced mode, or auto-balanced mode. The output of the photodetector (A) can be expressed as A=(IS – g x IR) x Rf. Here, IS the signal photodiode current, IR is the reference photodiode current, Rf is the value of the feedback resistor, and g is the current-splitting ratio, which describes how much of the reference current comes from the subtraction node (Isub) and how much comes from ground. In signal mode, g is zero and no reference photocurrent comes from the subtraction node. Here, the output A is simply an amplified version of the signal current. In balanced mode, g is equal to 1, and all the reference photocurrent comes from the subtraction node. In this mode, A=(IS–IR)•Rf, the photodetector behaves as an ordinary balanced photoreceiver, where laser noise is cancelled if the DC photocurrents are equal. In auto-balanced mode, g is electronically controlled by a low-frequency feedback loop to maintain equal DC photocurrents cancelling laser noise regardless of the photocurrent.

The feedback loop in the Nirvana™ photoreceiver splits the reference photodetector current, IR, to generate the cancellation photocurrent, Isub. When the DC value of Isub equals the signal current, IS, the laser-amplitude noise is cancelled.

Femtosecond Ultrasonics Application Example

The optical components of improved laser-based acoustic set-up for thin film and microstructure metrology.

One example associated with the balanced photodetection technique is femtosecond ultrasonics wherein a femtosecond laser pulse is used to excite an acoustic wave in a material. The length of mechanical (acoustic) wave determines the resolution of ultrasound. Depending upon the materials for test, the velocity of sound, propagating through the media, has a magnitude in the order of 103 m/s. The acoustic wavelength employed in classical ultrasonics locates at around 0.1–10 mm, depending on materials and frequencies. A growing demand of computer chip manufacturers for non-destructive testing of microstructures and thin films has pushed the wavelength scope down to 10–20 nm.

Piezoelectric devices used for production and echo detection of acoustic waves in the macroscopic scale are too rigid in order to resolve signals within time scales of a few picoseconds and corresponding frequencies of 0.30.6 THz. In 1987, researchers at Brown University proposed the use of laser-generated ultrasound for film thickness measurements. The performance of the laser-based acoustic method has been further improved recently by means of double-frequency modulation, cross-polarization, and balanced photodetection techniques. Shown above is an improved pump-probe laser-based ultrasonic set-up as it is realized at the Center of Mechanics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich. The specimens (DUTs) consist of aluminum film on a sapphire substrate.

A Ti:sapphire laser is used in this event to create short laser pulses having durations of less than 70 fs (1015 s) and a wavelength of 810 nm at a repetition rate of 81 MHz. The laser beam is split into a pump beam (carrying 90% of the energy) and a weaker probe beam by a beamsplitter. The short pump pulse hits perpendicular to the surface of the film specimen, and is absorbed within a thin surface layer (less than 10 nm deep). A mechanical stress is generated, which then excites thermo-elastically an acoustic pulse. When the bulk wave propagates and hits a discontinuity of the acoustic impedance (note: the film substrate border represents a strong discontinuity of the acoustic impedance), an echo occurs which is heading back to the surface of the film. Reaching the surface, the echo causes a slight change of the optical reflectivity.

The purpose of the probe pulse is to scan the optical reflectivity at the thin film surface versus time. Therefore, the experiments are constantly repeated at a repetition rate of 81 MHz, while the length of the optical path of the pump beam is varied. This means that the relative time shift between the pump pulse and the probe pulse is varied, and the optical reflectivity at the surface is scanned versus this relative time shift.

Frequency Modulation Spectroscopy Application Example

Diode-laser-based trace gas sensor configuration for continuous NH3 concentration measurements at 1.53 µm.6

In order to interrogate the spectral absorption profile of a sample (such as a noble gas), frequency modulation spectroscopy takes advantage of the change in optical absorption as a function of the frequency (wavelength) of light passed through the sample. A tunable laser can be used to generate a beam whose wavelength is time-varying. This beam is then split into two beams for balanced detection, one passing through the sample, and the other going directly into the reference photodiode. This differential measurement is the basis of FM spectroscopy. Since the time axis of the observed signal is directly related to the optical frequency, the observed signal can easily be couched in terms of optical frequency (hence the name frequency modulation spectroscopy). By using a balanced photoreceiver, any fluctuations of the laser's intensity can be directly eliminated. In addition, the small percentage fluctuations on the DC optical signal due to the time-varying absorption of the sample can be detected with greatly enhanced signal-to-noise by employing a balanced photoreceiver. Light scattering spectroscopy (LSS) detects the scattered electric field interferometrically. It is very sensitive to phase front variations in the scattered wave.