Precise control of pulsed lasers using high-bandwidth arbitrary waveform generators

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Precise control of pulsed lasers using high-bandwidth arbitrary waveform generators

Posted Date: 2024-01-26

Author: Tektronix Alejandro Buritica

High-power pulsed lasers are a core technology for many scientific and engineering experiments, playing a driving role in spectroscopy, metrology, quantum information, atomic physics and materials research. To be able to perform these experiments reliably and consistently, researchers need to control pulsed lasers with high precision, flexibility and tight timing control. Tektronix arbitrary waveform generators (AWGs) with high sampling rates can accomplish this task.

Generate waveforms to induce and fine-tune effects

Scientists and engineers use Tektronix AWGs to generate fast voltage pulses in a variety of shapes: rectangular waveforms, exponential waveforms, linear and nonlinear frequency modulated chirped signals, Gaussian waveforms and custom waveforms. By generating high-resolution and wide-bandwidth signals on one or more simultaneous channels, Tektronix AWGs can drive laser diodes or electro-optical modulators with superior fidelity and accuracy, allowing them to create realistic and complex signal scenarios. These scenarios can phase align directed energy flows, induce quantum effects in new materials, and fine-tune chemical reactions and other conditions.

Add interference for rigorous testing under stress conditions

Tektronix AWG includes SourceXpress software for controlling AWG instruments, providing users with powerful signal generation and editing capabilities to finely define parameters such as pulse shape, duration, frequency, amplitude, phase and modulation (Figure 1). In addition, users can use Tektronix AWGs to intentionally add noise, jitter, interference, and distortion to signals to test whether the laser system maintains good performance under these stressful conditions. This helps users obtain clear indicators of their system's robustness and operational limitations.

Figure 1: SourceXpress software for creating high-speed, precise pulses

Additionally, thanks to its serialization capabilities, SourceXpress software simplifies the creation and playback of thousands of pulse waveforms, which can be placed in exactly any order specified by the user. Waveform playback can start from embedded waveform markers, external triggers, or follow specific "jump" logic to switch from one waveform sample to the next.

For example, one of the challenges in physics experiments is to manipulate frequency-chirped lasers, which can achieve frequency spans of several gigahertz (GHz) in microseconds (μs), which is required to achieve transitions between two quantum states. Conditions are required. Researchers can simplify experimental workflows by using modulation signals generated by AWGs to control electro-optical phase modulators in injection-locked laser systems.

Precisely modulated pulsed laser envelope

Inertial confinement fusion (ICF) is another physics application that uses multiple high-power solid-state lasers driven by AWGs. High-power lasers output highly stable laser pulses with independent, precise, and controllable time domain shapes to meet power balance requirements. Due to the need for complex temporally shaped laser pulses, the ability to adjust the temporal shape of the laser pulse becomes important, and AWGs provide precise amplitude and timing control in this regard, resulting in minimal signal distortion and maximum energy transfer efficiency. In the specific example below, an AWG modulates a pulsed laser envelope with precise amplitude and timing characteristics, which helps the laser output a specific energy distribution.

Figure 2: AWG5200 - 2 to 8 channels, sample rates up to 10 gigas per second

Figure 3: AWG70000 - 1 or 2 channels, sample rate up to 50G samples per second

In summary, the Tektronix AWG with high sampling rate (Figures 2 and 3) is a versatile and powerful instrument that can improve the quality and efficiency of pulsed laser experiments, providing many options for creating and manipulating light pulses with unprecedented precision and flexibility. possibility. To learn more about AWGs and how they can help you in your pulsed laser experiments, check out the AWG page at

About Tektronix

Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, USA, Tektronix is ​​committed to providing innovative, precise, easy-to-operate test, measurement and monitoring solutions to solve various problems, unlock insights and promote innovation capabilities. For more than 70 years, Tektronix has been at the forefront of the digital age. Welcome to join our innovation journey, please log in:

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