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FAQ Power Meters

General Information

Why should I get Power and Energy meter equipment? Why do I need to measure my laser beam at all? Can't I just assume the lasers are working the way the manufacturer said?
All lasers or optical delivery systems degrade over time. A Power and Energy meter will help verify this and quantify this over time. It's a diagnostic tool to ensure that the laser system is delivering the specified amount of energy or power. The precise measurement of energy may critical in many of the processes in which they employed.
In what applications is a precise measurement generally needed?
Medical, semiconductor, welding, cutting, micromachining, barcode laser mfg
Do I need to perform Power and Energy measurements even if my device has an internal power/energy indicator?
Most are aware that they have to measure power/energy and many lasers come with internal monitoring systems. Most do not come with external meters. Since there is usually a discrepancy between what the internal meter measures and what is actually coming out, there is often a need to measure externally as well as internally. However, many users do not realize this.
Do aesthetic lasers need external power/energy monitoring?
Yes, many users of aesthetic lasers may not have that awareness that what actually comes out of the laser delivery system may vary dramatically from what the internal monitors displays what is coming out and needs external monitoring.
Is the Nova II meter absolutely necessary for generating an analog output? Can I take an analog output directly from the sensor?
Yes you can for Ophir thermal sensors, but then the output will not be calibrated. Ophir sells an adapter (Ophir P/N 7Z11010) that connects to the D15 plug and has BNC output. This will make available the raw output from our thermal sensors.
How long do I fire the laser into the sensor? Do I need to fire the laser more than once? How do I process the information in the PLC to output the correct power measurement to the operator?
How long you fire the laser into the meter depends on you. Some manufacturers do it 100% of the time via a beam splitter. That way they have a constant feedback system to allow them to not only monitor the power output, but also to control it so the laser is stable. Other people only do it for a short time to verify the setting is producing the correct amount of power. For different applications different sensors would be needed. For continual monitoring we would recommend a sensor that is designed to have the laser on it all the time. For short time measurements, a sensor designed for short use would be more ideal. For lasers that are pulsed, we recommend firing the laser a couple of times to get an understanding of the pulse to pulse change as well as being able to monitor the average. However, some applications only want to verify the energy setting, so they only fire the laser once to see if they are ready to go. Again, the decision is up to you. Processing the information in the PLC is completely up to you. Usually this requires some form of calibration so you can take the information you are delivering to the PLC and correlate it with your operator display. I.e. Volts/Watt. How many Volts from the sensor is equal to X amount of Watts the laser just produced.
I've lost my AC Charger. What are the output requirements?
Chargers can be ordered from your local Ophir distributor. For reference: 12 VDC, 500 mA, with the center pin being negative. The center must be negative for all but the Vega and Quasar which have the ability internally to switch the polarity to allow the use of different polarity power supplies.
Can I use a non Ophir power supply with my Ophir equipment?
Yes, as long as it has the correct voltage output, current output, connection polarity and it is CE certified.
How can I order spare parts like chargers or batteries for my Ophir power/energy meter equipment?
The easiest way for customers inside the United States to order our most common spare parts for Ophir power/energy meter equipment is to use our web site. We have a dedicated section under the Ordering tab on our web site listed below where you can order Spare Parts. If you are outside the United States, or you do not see the parts you are looking for, please contact our Sales or Service Departments and they can help you with spare parts.
Why is there reference to "–SH" in the name description of a particular sensor part number in some instances and not in others?
The part number of Ophir Photonics products uniquely defines the product and if the product has the same part number it is the same part notwithstanding variations in the name that accompanies the part number. Therefore the product 3A-P with various versions of the name with the same part number 7Z02622 is one product. We are at present taking steps that in the future the names associated with a particular part number even if generated from different sources will be identical.
I’m missing my Certificate of Calibration for my Ophir power/energy meter equipment how can I get a copy of my Certificate of Calibration?
Please send an e-mail request to our Calibration department that includes the S/N of the device you are missing the Certificate of Calibration for and we would be happy to e-mail you a copy of the latest Certificate of Calibration for the device. Calibration@us.ophiropt.com

Laser Power Meters


I received my order of two Vega meters and two sensors. What sensor goes with which meter, or are they interchangeable?
The meters and sensors are calibrated separately and either sensor will work with either Vega meter.
How does an energy meter measure above the maximum frequency at which it can record every pulse?
The energy meters will then sample at close to its maximum frequency. For instance measuring 10 KHz with a PD10 Sensor and Nova II where the maximum frequency for every pulse on the Nova II is 4 KHz: in this case, the Nova II will pick out pulses at a rate of close to 4 KHz and sample them, i.e. the Nova II will record 40% of the pulses.
What is the resolution and update rate of the Ophir Power and Energy Meters analog output?

AN/2 Nova Nova II Vega Laserstar
resolution 10 bit 11 bit 11 bit 11 bit 12 bit
update rate/s 15 15 15 15 15, 25/s for pyro sensors
I can understand why a power meter sensor needs to be recalibrated, but why do I have to have my Power and Energy Meters recalibrated?
Think of it like a voltmeter or ammeter, these have to be recertified/recalibrated as well like most other pieces of test equipment. In general, our instruments are unlikely to drift or fail over time like a sensor might that is constantly exposed to laser energy. But the possibility exists. So the general practice in our industry is to have Power and Energy Meterss recalibrated and recertified as well. ISO standards and FDA, as well as other agencies, require both be recalibrated and recertified.
Do I have to turn my meter off and on again when I connect a different sensor head?
If you need to change the sensor on a meter for additional measurements, you do need to power the meter Off and On again in order to refresh the meter with the new sensor information.

However, the latest firmware for the Nova II and Vega (v2.06) includes the ability to automatically read a different sensor information, when it is connected, without the requirement to power the meter Off an On again.

The latest firmware for the Nova II and Vega is available at;


The Nova II and Vega firmware can be upgraded through the StarLab program, also available at the web address above under the Nova II or Vega PC Applications tab.
What is the Ophir meter zeroing and when should it be performed?
In all Ophir instruments, all adjustments, including zeroing internal circuits, are done from the software. This ensures simple and accurate realignment. The zeroing process helps eliminate internal biases in the unit which could affect accuracy of measurements. It is recommended to re-zero the instrument every 2 months for best performance. Specific instructions for doing this are found in the relevant User Manual for each instrument.
What are the ambient conditions specifications of Ophir Sensors and Power and Energy Meters?
Recommended but not guaranteed: Operating: 15 - 35degC. Storage: 0 - 50degC.
How do I select the correct wavelength with sensors that have a continual response curve such as silicon photodiode sensors, -LP1 thermal sensors and 3A-IS sensors?
The sensors with a continual response curve such as the ones listed above come with preset "favorite" wavelengths. If these "favorite" wavelengths do not match the application wavelength you are using they can be changed by performing the instructions below, which are for the Vega meter. For your specific meter, please see the User Manual.
  • While the Vega is off, plug in the head. Switch on the Vega.
  • From the main measurement screen, press "Laser" to select the correct laser wavelength. If you want to save this new wavelength as the startup default, press "Save" before exiting. If the wavelength you want is not among the wavelengths in the six wavelengths listed and you want to change or add a wavelength, see step 3.
  • Changing Chosen Wavelengths:
    • From the power measurement screen select "Laser" and enter. Move to the wavelength you wish to change or add. Press the right navigation key.
    • Using the up/down keys to change each number and the right/left keys to move to the next number, key in the desired wavelength. Press the Enter key to exit. If you wish to save this new wavelength as one of the 6 favorite wavelengths, press "Save".
Note: Saving the new wavelength in the Modify screen will not set this wavelength as the default startup wavelength. To do so, you must follow the instructions in Step 2 above.
When replacing a power meter battery should it be recalibrated?
While you may order replacement batteries and replace them yourself, we recommend that you send the unit in for recalibration after replacement for best performance. Any time the case is removed from the meter, there is a potential for calibration factors and settings to be compromised.
Can I use a third party sensor with the Ophir power/energy meters?
No, only Ophir power/energy sensors with the Smart Head connection will work with the Ophir power/energy meters.
I don't see my exact wavelength in the wavelength option for my Ophir sensor. I only see a couple of ranges. What should I do?
Select the range where your wavelength is inside. The sensors have coatings on them that have been characterized and when there is a difference in sensitivity at a wavelength where it exceeds the allowable tolerances a new wavelength range is created and a calibrated for.
When an Ophir power meter product is discontinued, how long will Ophir support it?
The policy is to support Ophir equipment for 7 years after it is discontinued. That means we will continue to re-calibrate it and provide repair support for it.
Can I perform a firmware upgrade of my StarLite using a USB 3.0 port?
No. To avoid possible problems in the programming process, the StarLite firmware upgrade must be performed while connected to USB 2.0 only.
My StarLite meter seems to have lost its programming during the firmware upgrade procedure. How can I get its functionality back?
If the firmware programming procedure doesn’t complete, you should be able to recover and reprogram the StarLite firmware.
  • Make sure to completely power down the StarLite, as is mentioned in the StarLite Upgrade Tool screen instructions (long press On/Off button).
  • If unsure that StarLite has really shut down, it’s advisable to try disconnecting the USB cable and then power down the StarLite.
  • Reconnect the USB cable.
Then proceed (again) with the StarLite Field Upgrade Tool: Turn StarLite on in the special ‘burn-in’ mode by pressing the two button combination as detailed in the onscreen instructions, (you should hear from the PC speakers the ‘ding dong’ tone associated with a device being connected to the PC), and then continue the steps as prompted. If problems continue, please contact Ophir-Spiricon Service at service@us.ophiropt.com.

Vega & Nova II

How do I turn my Nova-II or Vega meter on?
The Nova II and Vega meters have a momentary push button switch to both turn them on and turn them off. The push button action to turn them on is a press-and-release-quickly action. The push button action to turn them off is a press-and-hold action, until the meter turns off.
My Nova-II or Vega doesn't turn on.
This can sometimes happen when the battery of the Power and Energy Meters is completely discharged and then the charger is plugged in. The Power and Energy Meters is powered up but the contrast voltage on the LCD is not functioning, so it looks as though it is off; and usually the backlight switches on and off normally.

The solution is to first switch OFF the Power and Energy Meters properly by pressing the On/Off button for 4-5 seconds, and then switching it back ON by momentarily pressing the On/Off button, as normal.

The Power and Energy Meters will also fail to operate if you attempted to download a software upgrade and there was a malfunction in the download, see the question "Can I upgrade?" below.
Can I upgrade my Nova-II or Vega software by myself or do I have to send it in to an Ophir distributor?
A: The Power and Energy Meter's software can be upgraded by the customer using Ophir's StarLab PC application available for download from the Ophir website.

1. Attach the Power and Energy Meters to your PC with the USB cable provided with the Power and Energy Meters.
2. Go to the bottom of the StarLab page and download the firmware for your Power and Energy Meters
3. Run the StarLab application
4. Select your Power and Energy Meters device and press Diagnostics
5. Select your meter and press the Upgrade button
6. Follow all the on-screen instructions to successfully reprogram the display.
These instructions, including screen captures, can be found at http://www.ophiropt.com/laser-measurement-instruments/laser-power-energy-meters/software/upgrade-firmware
If the field-upgrade process fails (example, unplug of the USB cable during the upgrade), the Power and Energy Meters will not function properly. Therefore, when turning on the Power and Energy Meters the user gets a blank screen. Note: The Power and Energy Meters can still communicate with the PC. Try to reinstall the Power and Energy Meters software as described above.


Can the LaserStar work in dual channel mode with pyro and thermal sensors together?
It can work with any sensors in dual mode where they are operating separately but for ratio or difference it can only work with pyro vs. pyro or thermal/photodiode vs. thermal/photodiode.
How can I test if the IEEE adapter of LaserStar is functioning properly?
This can be done with the Spagent program and a Kiethley GPIB PC card. Please contact Ophir engineering for details.
Can the LaserStar be used with both the analog and RS232 at once?
We have a special plug which allows this. Ophir P/N 1Z11006.
How do I use the OFFSET function for a Dual Channel LaserStar with 2 sensors attached?
Offset is entered for each sensor separately. You choose "Active Sensor: A", then set offset for sensor A in the usual manner, then go back and choose "Active Sensor: B" and repeat. This also makes the most sense, since each sensor might in fact need a separate offset.

Please note: After activating “OFFSET” for each sensor separately, when you then work in “BOTH” mode, you no longer see “OFFSET” shown on the screen; nevertheless, the “OFFSET” function is still in fact working.

Laser Power/Energy Sensors

Choosing a Sensor

What are the top 3 or 4 key specifications to understand when selecting a sensor and meter? Can you list some of the trade-offs between specifications?
The biggest issue is picking out the appropriate sensor that will measure the laser light (most will measure other types of broadband light as well). Since it is not trivial to find the best sensor for a given application, we recommend using our Sensor Finder available on our website that automatically calculates the best sensor for the measurement conditions you input. However, let us list below the main criteria:
  • First of all, do you want to measure average power or pulse energy? If power, then choose a thermal or photodiode sensor. If energy, then if the repetition rate is less than one pulse every 5s, then you can use a thermal or pyroelectric sensor. If faster than that, then a pyroelectric.
  • After you have chosen the type of sensor, then look at the dynamic range and choose a sensor that will be able to measure the highest and lowest power/energy you want to measure.
  • Check that the sensor covers the wavelength region you want to measure.
  • Now check the damage threshold. One needs to accurately know how much power or energy density one has in order to select a sensor that will not be damaged. To do that one needs to know the beam spot size, and what the energy distribution is, since for example a Gaussian beam has much higher density in the peak of the beam than a flat top or other modal beam. If the laser is pulsed, one also has to know the pulse length in time as most sensors have a different damage threshold value based on peak power; a shorter pulse with the same energy per pulse will give a much high peak power and will more readily damage the sensor. If one cannot seem to find a sensor that will not damage, then one needs to look attenuation options including beam splitters, diffusers, ND filters and possibly measuring just the leakage through a mirror.
  • In the above analysis there are some trade-offs.
  • Dynamic range that one needs to measure. Typically one can get roughly 3 ½ decades of range from a single sensor. ND filters and/ or other attenuation options can extend that by any number of decades. Of course with each attenuation option the uncertainty of the measurement increase, so the trade-off here would be dynamic range with a single sensor and extending with attenuators but having to sacrifice uncertainty, therefore accuracy. One may find that it may be better to have 2 sensors, one more sensitive and one able to measure higher power or energy.
  • Multiple lasers. Many end-users try to measure as many lasers as they can with as few sensors as they can in order to reduce their cost. To do this there may be some trade-offs. Maybe one won't be able to cover their full dynamic range of each laser measurement, or they have to sacrifice accuracy to cover their full range. In some cases they'll just have to get more sensors to cover all their lasers. The trade-off here is cost.
  • . Physical size of the sensors. Most end-users usually want the smallest physical size sensor possible, or maybe a large aperture with large sensing area, but the housing small. There may be some trade-offs there. If it's high power, there may an issue in cooling the sensor; either through convection, conduction, forced-air, or water. Each comes with its own trade-off. If attenuators are used, the space they require may be an issue.
  • A more detailed guide to selecting the optimal sensor for a given application can be found in our online Tutorials at http://www.ophiropt.com/laser-measurement-instruments/laser-power-energy-meters/tutorial/properly-select and http://www.ophiropt.com/laser-measurement-instruments/laser-power-energy-meters/tutorial/select-sensors. And again, use the sensor finder to point you in the right direction.
What should I look for when checking laser power or energy meters for damage threshold?
One has to be careful about this since many vendors quote the damage threshold at a power much lower than the maximum power of the particular sensor being advertized. As an extreme case, a meter that can measure up to 1000W, may be quoted a certain damage threshold and in a footnote it may be noted that this damage threshold is for 10W. The damage threshold can go down dramatically with power and the damage threshold at 1000W may be 4 or 5 times less than at very low powers. Ophir always quotes damage threshold for a particular sensor at the highest power the sensor can measure.
The Sensor Finder could not find a sensor for my application; it gave me the message "Pulse width or frequency is incorrect". What does that mean?
Very often, a laser spec gives a range of values for various parameters – for example, pulse width might be specified as "Up to 30 msec", or pulse frequency might be given as ""10 – 200 Hz". If we enter the highest numbers for all the parameters into the Sensor Finder – in this example, 30msec pulse width and 200Hz frequency – then clearly the math may not line up, since these 2 values do not match each other. In such a case, it is important to check what the actual "worst case combination" (or perhaps combinations) of conditions of measurement will be.

General Specifications

What is the accuracy of Ophir laser power sensors?
Generally, our sensors are calibrated (traceable to NIST) to within ±3% accuracy 2 sigma which means that 95% of the sensors are accurate within ±3%. However, if your application requires very high accuracy, we also offer something called “double calibration” which can bring the error down to less than ±2%.
When an accuracy spec is given, what exactly is meant?
The Ophir specification on accuracy is in general 2 sigma standard deviation. This means, for instance, that if we list the accuracy as +/-3%, this means that 95% of the sensors will be within this accuracy and 99% will be within +/-4% For further information on accuracy see http://www.ophiropt.com/laser-measurement-instruments/laser-power-energy-meters/tutorial/calibration-procedure
The sensor specification sheet states accuracy is ±3%. Is that ±3% of the full scale reading or simply ±3% of any given reading?
The accuracy specification is ±3% of any given reading. This is the accuracy of the calibration under the conditions of calibration. To this must be added other uncertainties if they exist. For more details see: http://www.ophiropt.com/laser-measurement-instruments/laser-power-energy-meters/tutorial/calibration-procedure
What is spec on uniformity over the surface?
It varies from sensor to sensor. In general, the uniformity is better than +/-2% over the central 50% of the area and for many sensors considerably better than this. For more information see our tutorial at http://www.ophiropt.com/laser-measurement-instruments/laser-power-energy-meters/tutorial/calibration-procedure
What is definition of damage threshold?
It is defined as that level where reading changes by >1%. Cosmetic damage is not considered damage if the reading does not change.
What are the ambient conditions specifications of Ophir Sensors and Power and Energy Meters?
Recommended but not guaranteed: Operating: 15 - 35degC. Storage: 0 - 50degC.
How do you calculate the power and energy density of a laser beam?
If the power is P and the diameter of the beam is D then the power density is P /(.785 * D2) . If it is a pulsed laser and the energy is E, the repetition rate is R and the diameter is D then the power density is E*R/(.785 * D2), The energy density is E/(.785 * D2)
When a damage threshold specification refers to a certain maximum power density (or energy density), what beam profile is assumed?
Clearly there are many possible power/energy distributions, and laser damage to a sensor can occur at a local peak power density spot even if the overall power density is within spec. Ideally, then, a damage threshold spec should depend on what the beam profile is. However, it is very difficult to calculate what the peak power density will be at the center of a beam unless it is a uniform ("top hat") beam - which is seldom the case. Further complicating things is the fact that a laser spot's borders are not solid lines but rather have a certain "fuzziness", which is why modern beam profiling equipment offers a variety of mathematical definitions of beam size when measuring a profile.

In order to provide users with a useable, practical guideline, we do define our specifications in terms of a uniform distribution. However, when we determine the actual damage thresholds for our sensors, we take a level of safety margin into account, so that for "typical" beams whose profile is not too complex our specification will roughly reflect the peak power density of the beam. As a further safety measure, we also always recommend that users choose a sensor that, all other things being equal, will work at not more than 50% of the specified damage threshold.
What is the minimum power you can measure?
This depends on whether you are using a thermopile sensor head or a photodiode sensor head. With our most sensitive thermopile sensor head, model 3A-FS one can measure down to 20 uW. With our photodiode sensor heads we have a several types, silicon, InGaAs and Germanium. Each has a spec on minimum power, which can be in the nW or even pW range.
How does one know the minimum power that a laser power meter can measure?
In order to get a meaningful power reading on a power meter, the signal being measured must be considerably larger than the noise. In fact there is a measure of this, the signal to noise ratio or SNR that is often used. If the SNR is 1 then the noise is the same size as the signal and this signal is barely distinguishable. There are some that will quote this number as the minimum measurable, but most agree that the signal must be considerably larger than the noise to be measurable. One criterion used by many is 10:1 SNR as the minimum useable measurement. However, when the noise referred to is 1 standard deviation or 1 Sigma, then a certain amount of the time the noise is 2 times this or even 3 times so 10:1 SNR 1 Sigma is still not a very precise measurement. For these above reasons, Ophir has taken a particularly strict definition of minimum measurable power and that is 20 times the 3 Sigma noise value. This is 6 times as strict as the usual 10:1 1 Sigma value often given or implied. The Ophir value means that most of the time, the noise does not exceed more than 2% of the signal.
What is the shortest pulse that can be measured?
For pyroelectric energy sensor heads there is no limit on how short the pulse is, as they are integrating devices. As long as one does not exceed the damage threshold expressed in terms of energy density then they will accurately integrate pulses as short as femtoseconds. With thermopile sensors they similarly can be used as integrating devices to measure energy, although one can only measure single pulses every few seconds as they have a much slower response time than pyroelectics. With repetitive short pulses one can measure the average power with a thermopile with no restriction on how short the pulses are, as long as the energy density damage threshold is not exceeded. The spec for damage threshold varies on type of absorbing surface of each sensor head type. Consult our damage threshold charts or use the Sensor Finder for detailed information.


Our thermal sensor specification states "Power Accuracy +/- 3% at calibration wavelength". To what exactly does the 3% refer?
The Power Accuracy of +/-3% refers to the absolute uncertainty of the measured value. For example, for a 2 Watt reading, the actual "true" value would be between 1.94 W to 2.06 W (with reference to NIST, to which all our calibration is traceable). This assumes the reading is from about 5% of full scale up to full scale. It should be noted that our accuracy specification is in general based on 2 sigma standard deviation.

Repeatability of the measurement (assuming the laser itself is perfectly stable) is limited in the best case by the power noise level of the sensor, and is typically up to the +/- 1% range depending on the thermal stability of the environment. Stability at higher powers from the middle to the top of the range of the sensor head is usually better than the low end. This is due to small temperature variations having less of an effect as they are proportionally a lower percentage of the total power. For more information, refer to our Web tutorial at: http://www.ophiropt.com/laser-measurement-instruments/laser-power-energy-meters/tutorial/calibration-procedure
What is the standard recalibration interval for Ophir Power and Energy measurement sensors?
With normal usage we recommend calibrating every 12 months. To accommodate shelf time and shipping time new manufactured product comes with a calibration sticker that shows a recalibration period of 18 months from manufacturing. However this does not negate the recommended 12 month recalibration interval should you receive the product with more than 12 months remaining on the new manufactured calibration sticker.
What's the calibration turn-around time for power meters at the US calibration facility?
The standard turn-around time from receipt to issuing quotation for power meter calibration is less than 5 days. We do offer additional expedite service for 3 days and super expedite for within 24 hours.
If I have a sensor calibrated for a particular wavelength and a curve of the relative sensitivity at different wavelengths, how do I correct for a reading at a different wavelength?
If the calibrated wavelength is W1 and I want to measure at wavelength W2 then I look at the relative sensitivities on the curve at W1 and W2 and calculate as follows: Sensitivity at W1: s1 Sensitivity at W2: s2 When instrument is set to W1 and I measure W2, then multiply reading at W2 by s1/s2 to get correct reading at W2.
How is the power meter sensor calibrated for wavelengths other than the specific wavelengths used for calibration?
All absorbers used in power/energy measurement are not entirely flat spectrally, that is, they vary in absorption with wavelength. For this reason, Ophir measuring sensors are usually calibrated at more than one wavelength. If the absorption changes only slightly with wavelength, then we define wavelength regions such as <800nm, >800nm and give a calibration within these regions. In that case, the error in measurement between the wavelength the device was calibrated for and the measurement wavelength is assumed to be within the primary wavelength calibration error.
How can we be sure of the calibration of our high power sensors when we calibrate at a small fraction of full power?
An explanation of how we do this is given in our catalog introduction and on our website.
  • A recent check of our 5000W head by PTB in Germany shows excellent agreement between our calibration and their standards as enclosed here. The following is the correspondence between our sensor and their standard at powers up to 1400W (the highest available at PTB).
  • My Ophir equipment keeps telling me it's time to recalibrate my equipment. Why do I need to send it in for calibration?
    Over time the equipment can become damaged, dirty, or drift and it is recommended to have the equipment recalibrated every year to make sure the equipment is measuring accurately within its allowable tolerances.

    Using Your Sensor

    How much power can I put into an Ophir sensor if I only use it for a short time?
    There is a rule of thumb about this for sensors made of aluminum. You can use the sensor without cooling for about 1 minute/watt/cm3 of sensor. So if a sensor has a volume of 300cm3 and you put in 100W, you can use it for 3 minutes. The sensor finder program http://www.ophiropt.com/laser-measurement-instruments/laser-power-energy-meters/services/sensor-finder has an option for intermittent use of an Ophir sensor and will automatically calculate this for you.
    Can Broadband coatings on the PE sensors and 3A sensors be cleaned with a cotton swab or optical tissue wipe?
    No. The Broadband coating of the PE and 3A sensors is delicate and should not be touched. You can use clean low-pressure air to blow debris off as necessary.
    How should I clean my sensor?
    First, clean the absorber surface with a Kleenex tissue, using one of the following cleaning agents, depending on the absorber. Then dry the surface with another tissue. Please note the two absorbers in the table (Pyro-BB and 10K-W) cannot be cleaned with this method. Instead, simply blow off the dust with clean air or nitrogen. Don't touch these absorbers.
    Note: These suggestions are made without guarantee. The cleaning process may result in scratching or staining of the surface in some cases and may also in some cases change the calibration

    Absorber Type Umicore #2 Substrate Cleaner Acetone Methanol Umicore #2 + Acetone
    Thermal BB
    Pyro BB
    Comet BB
    Pyro Metallic
    P type
    N type
    I just received my new Ophir Power/Energy equipment. What are some tips I can use to keep this equipment in top performance?
    The largest problem we see from equipment that is not working at top performance is contamination on the sensor. Dust or other contamination on the sensor surface can greatly impact the readings the sensor provides. When dust or other contaminations are on the sensor when it is illuminated by laser power/energy it can become "burned onto" the sensor. Simply blowing this contamination off before using the sensor can greatly reduce these problems and make the equipment perform at top performance for a longer period of time. Using canned air or dry nitrogen from a distance of 6 inches or more to lightly blow off the sensors can remove most of the contamination. Turn the sensor upside down so the surface the laser hits on is pointing to the floor. Start a light flow of air while pointed away from the sensor and lightly sweep it across the sensor without increasing the flow. This will lift most of the dust or other contamination from the sensor surface and gravity will continue to pull it to the floor.
    Must I use a particular sensor only with the meter it was ordered with?
    Ophir meters and sensors are calibrated independently. Each meter has the same sensitivity as the other within about 2 tenths of a percent. Each sensor is calibrated independently of a particular meter with its calibration information contained in the DB15 plug. When the sensor is connected to the meter, the meter reads and interprets this information. Since the accuracy of our sensors is typically +/-3%, the extra 0.2% error that could come from plugging into a different meter is negligible and therefore it does not matter which calibrated meter we use with a particular calibrated sensor.


    When using the fiber optic adaptor, how do we handle power loss due to the fiber relative to calibration?
    All Ophir power meters, including photodiode power meters, have an air gap between the fiber tip and the sensor. Therefore they measure the power emitted by the fiber into the air and do not take into account any reflection losses there are in the fiber. Therefore, if in actual use, the fiber will be coupled with no loss to another element, then the losses should be added to the reading. These losses are usually about 4%. Thus if the reading on the Ophir meter is say 100mW, then in lossless use, the real power will be 104mW.
    I am integrating a L100(500A) power meter head into a workstation and I would like to know how long between "readings" do I have to wait for the head to cool or what dictates how long I can shoot into the head. I realize that I can put a beam into the head at 500W for 1 min, 300W for 2 min or 75W continuously...but what determines how long I must wait if I wanted to take a 150W reading for 20 seconds, 10 times in a row (as an example)? How long would I have to wait between shots or could I take 5 readings, then wait 1 min and take 5 more etc.
    The problem of irradiating the head with different input powers is analogous to that of filling a tank that has a hole in the bottom. The rate equation describing the accumulating energy (heat) in the head is

    where P is the power incident on the sensor, is the characteristic time constant of the heat dissipation (thermal time constant) and Q is the heat in the sensor.

    The complete solution to this differential equation is an exponential of the form:

    The parameters in the above equation are determined by the head characteristics and the initial conditions.

    For a generic head starting at room temperature this equation becomes:

    where Pcont is the maximum power permitted for continuous operation. We can use the other known operating limits of the head to solve for , the thermal time constant of the head.

    Here Pint is the power permitted for intermittent use for tint seconds. With we can calculate the permitted operating time for an arbitrary power.

    For your case we have the known limits:

    75 W continuous

    500 W for 1 min

    So Pcont = 75 W. Using Pint = 500 W and tint = 60 sec gives a value of = 370 sec. Combining we have:

    which tells us how long we can irradiate the sensor (from cold start) for any given incident power.

    With 150 W, you could irradiate the sensor for 250 sec.

    However, if you want to cycle between irradiating and cool down continuously, you don't reach ambient before the laser is turned on again. If the laser is on for t(on) and then turned off (or blocked) for t(cool), the head will cycle between two values of Q: Q(max) at the end of the heating (related to Pcont) and Q(0) at the end of the cool down and start of the heating.

    Using the general solution for Q above, we can solve for the behavior during the heating and cooling phases.

    This leads to the following equation relating P, t(on) and t(cool):

    where Pcont and are determined as described in the first case above. Note that the behavior is essentially the same as for the previous case in which we started with the sensor at ambient but with the maximum power permitted for a given irradiation time reduced to

    You indicated that you want to take 10 readings of 20 seconds each so t(on) is 200 seconds. For incident power of 150 W and measurement time of 200 sec, we need a cool down time of 470 sec. Other parameter sets can be considered as necessary.

    Thermal Laser Power Sensors

    Choosing a Sensor

    What is the difference between P type sensors and sensors with the standard broadband (BB) coating?
    Surface Absorbers are spectrally broadband and spectrally flat due to their absorbing surface. With Surface Absorbers, the photons are converted to heat in the front layer of the absorbing surface. The P versions of these sensors have a ground glass absorber. This provides superior damage resistance for high energy Q-switched type lasers, but has a low damage threshold for CW lasers. This type of sensor is referred to as a Volume Absorber; the laser energy is absorbed in the volume of the material below the front surface. For a detailed discussion of thermal surface and volume absorbing sensors and absorbers for high power lasers, click here.
    If according to the catalog specs or the sensor finder I am very close to the damage threshold but below it, should I choose such a sensor?
    It is not recommended to choose a sensor if it is very close to the damage threshold if there is an alternative, since laser damage is not an exact figure and depends on many things. Use the Sensor Finder to find the best match where you are preferably below 50% of the damage threshold.
    Sensor Finder does not find a match for my application. Is there the possibility to create an OEM sensor for my application?
    Yes, we have the ability to rapid prototype standard OEM sensors to help with custom applications where an off the shelf sensor does not fill the requirement.


    Does the damage threshold depend on power level?
    The damage threshold of thermal sensors does depend on the power level and not only the power density because the sensor disc itself gets hotter at high powers. For instance, the damage threshold of the Ophir broadband coating may be 50KW/cm2 at 10 Watts but only 10KW/cm2 at 300W. The Ophir specifications for damage threshold are always given for the highest power of use of a particular sensor, something which is not done by most other manufacturers. This should be taken into account when comparing specifications.
    What is the damage threshold of the thermal broadband coating and how does it compare with claims of other manufacturers?
    We publish a nominal damage threshold for most of our thermal BB sensors as 20KW/cm2. Other manufacturers may quote higher numbers than this. In actuality, in one to one tests against competitors, our sensors show a higher damage threshold but the actual damage threshold depends on the total power as well as the power density. For very low powers such as 30W, the damage threshold can be as high as 50KW/cm2 and at high powers such as 5KW, it drops to 3KW/cm2. The Ophir sensor finder program takes account of these variations in its calculations.
    What is the damage threshold for femtosecond pulses?
    The damage threshold curve in the sensors catalog only goes down to 1ns but the energy damage threshold is similar for shorter pulses. You can use ½ of the ns value for fs pulses i.e. the absorber damages twice as easily.
    Sometimes water-cooled sensors get corrosion damage inside. How can this be prevented?
    Corrosion is caused by ions present in the cooling water, enabling interactions among various metals along the water circuit. Many factors affect the risk of corrosion forming. The new thermal sensor 1000WP-BB- 34 has a special design in which all materials that come in contact with the cooling water are either copper or nonmetallic. This eliminates the possibility of contaminating the water or corroding the sensor, improving the accuracy and reliability of the measurements.


    What is the calibration of the thermal broadband coating in the UV?
    The absorber is calibrated at 514-532nm, covering the visible and UV region. At 266nm, it reads only 1-2% higher than at 514-532nm.
    Will the 3A-P sensor work at 10.6µm?
    The 3A-P actually absorbs about 85% at 10.6µm and therefore it can be used to measure weak CO2 lasers. Note the low power damage threshold, however, of 50W/cm2.
    What are the calibrated wavelength regions of thermal broadband sensors as defined by the laser wavelength regions displayed?
    UV: 193 - 350nm, VIS: 350 - 850nm, NIR: 850 - 3000nm, CO2: 10.6um. Newer sensors have the regions explicitly where the laser settings are: <.8µ, .8-6 and 10.6
    What happens if you use the HE sensors in the forbidden spectral region?
    For HE between 0.625 and 1um, the window transmits too much and the absorption drops by ~10%. Because of this, the thermal heat sink compound behind the absorber can dry out. If the power and energy is kept to 1/10 of maximum and the calibration is not important, the sensor can be used in this spectral region.
    Why is the P type absorber shown to be completely flat spectrally in the catalog but there are still two wavelength settings in the sensor?
    It is flat for <750nm and for >900nm but can vary +/-2-3% between those regions. Since it can vary in either direction, this information cannot be put in the spectral graph.
    Can the EX type absorber be used for CO2?
    Yes, the EX absorbs well and has a good damage threshold especially for TEA lasers. However, the sensor is not exactly calibrated at 10.6um.
    How is it possible that a thermal sensor can pass the calibration before test, but still need a disc replacement?
    The answer to this question is two-fold. First of all the recalibration process accomplishes the recalibration of the sensor and returns it to "as-new" working condition. If there is surface damage on the sensor disc that creates areas of non-uniformity exceeding the uniformity across-the-surface specification, then the disc needs to be replaced, even though the accuracy performance of the sensor is not out-of-tolerance. Secondly, many applications require that sensors be found in-tolerance during the calibration process, or else deviation explanations are required and/or costly recalls may need to be implemented. The calibration process is intended to help maintain the sensors within tolerance if at all possible.
    How can I maximize measurement accuracy with the RM9 radiometer?
    The RM9 is only sensitive to signals chopped at 18 Hz, so placing the chopper as close to the laser source as possible will minimize stray light entering the chopper and being read as part of the signal. The noise specification is based on a 10 second moving average. Set the power meter to average the measurements for optimal performance. It is also recommended to zero the sensor before use. This is done by disconnecting the BNC cable between the RM9 sensor and the chopper or turning off the chopper. Then follow the regular instructions for zeroing that can found in your power meter or PC interface manual.

    Other Specs

    How can I obtain a specification sheet for an out of production sensor?
    Please email service@us.ophiropt.com to request the spec sheet. We have many of the spec sheets available for immediate delivery via email, and all of the spec sheets can be emailed within 2 or 3 days.
    What is the dynamic range of OEM sensors?
    In general, the dynamic range, i.e. the ratio of maximum useable power to minimum useable power of Ophir OEM sensors is 40:1. If greater dynamic range is desired, Ophir OEM RS232 sensors are available with several selectable ranges.
    What is the maximum temperature rise allowed in water cooled sensors?
    The maximum temperature rise allowed is about 10degC . We base our water flow data on this.
    Is there a coolant pressure specification for Ophir water-cooled sensors?
    Yes. Please reference the chart below:

    Minimum Flow Rates for Water-Cooled Sensors
    Sensor Type L/m (at Full Power) Min Pressure (Bar) G/m
    L300W 1 0.3 0.25
    1000W 1.7 0.4 0.5
    1500W 2.5 0.5 0.7
    5000W 4.5 0.8 1.2
    8000W 7 1.5 2
    10K-W 10 2 2.8

    Note: The coolant pressure should not exceed the minimum by more than 2.5 times.

    For specifications on our newest water-cooled sensor, the 30K-W, please follow this link: http://www.ophiropt.com/laser/pdf/30K-W.pdf
    What is "Energy threshold" with thermal heads?
    The energy threshold (at which a thermal head will be triggered to begin a single pulse energy measurement) has 3 levels: HIGH - ~3% of full scale; MED - ~1% of full scale and LOW - ~0.3% of full scale. Sometimes the lowest energy range and LOW level give false triggering or missing pulses. In any case the standard deviation will be relatively higher in the threshold area. If the head is used in stable conditions, it is generally possible to measure single shot pulses below the specified limit, though its value will be less accurate.
    How is the performance of thermal sensors affected by ambient temperature?
    Water cooled sensors will hardly be affected by ambient temperature since the sensor temperature is determined by the water temperature. Ophir convection and fan cooled sensors are designed to operate in an ambient environment of 25degC up to the maximum rated power continuously. At this power, the sensors should not exceed about 75degC in temperature. If the room temperature is higher, then the maximum power should be derated accordingly. For example if the room temperature is 35degC, then the maximum power should be (75-35)/(75-25) = 80% of maximum rated power.
    Ophir thermal sensors have pin fins for cooling. They used to be cooled by flat fins. What's the difference?
    Pin fins can cool the same laser power to a lower temperature or take higher power in the same size sensor. Take the FL250A sensor, for example, used with a 250 W laser: The old version would reach 74 °C at maximum power, while the new only reaches 55 °C.
    How much over the specified power rating of a thermal sensor can it still measure?
    The Ophir thermal sensors can measure up to 10% over their maximum average power rating, even though the meter will indicate "OVER".
    How long is the mounting post that is included with the thermopile detectors?
    The posts are 2.25” long.

    Using Your Sensor

    Can I use an Ophir thermal sensor with an oscilloscope, DVM or other non Ophir readout?
    Yes. To do so, the smart plug should be attached to the Ophir smart sensor to BNC interface (Ophir P/N 1Z11010) and the output should be put into an amplifier with input impedance set to ~10KOhm.
    How long can I use a thermal sensor designed for intermittent use at higher powers than it is designed for continuous use?
    Thermal sensors for intermittent use such as models 30(150)A, L40(150)A etc. can be used up to the powers in parenthesis for a period given approximately by the following formula: The rule of thumb is that you can use the sensor for 1 minute/watt/cm3 of sensor. So for 150 watts for 30(150)A you have 1minute*165cm3/150watt =~ a little over one minute. The sensor finder program calculates the allowability of intermittent use when the user fills out the choice for duty cycle.
    Can water cooled sensors be used at lower power or for short periods without water cooling?
    Water cooled sensors will not work properly at all unless the sensor is filled with water to make thermal contact between the disc and sensor. If the sensor is filled with water and the input and output connectors are stopped up, then the sensor can be used for a short time without water flow or at much reduced power continuously. Note, however, that when used this way, the response time of the sensor may not be optimal and it may be slow or overshoot.
    Is it necessary to continuously cool a water cooled power sensor with water? Or can I just cool it right before, during, and after the power measurement sequence?
    It is not necessary to cool it with water all the time. However, when the water is turned on, there is a transient period where the reading is not stable until the sensor adjusts to the water flow. Therefore, turn on the water before applying the laser and wait until you get a stable reading close to zero before applying the laser. This can take up to 1 minute.
    I sometimes need to see an analog representation of my laser power on a scope, in parallel to measuring it with a thermal sensor. What solutions are available?
    There are a number of options, depending on the purpose.
    1. In many cases, the simplest solution could be to make use of the analog output of the meter – that gives a voltage signal proportional to the actual reading (it is in fact just a D/A translation of what is being displayed), so it represents a fully calibrated reading. The full scale value is a function of the meter being used and the power range it is on.
    2. 2. The "SH to BNC connector" (Ophir P/N 7Z11010) simply takes the raw output from the detector element and sends it to the scope. It bypasses the sensor's EEROM which contains the calibration data, so it essentially turns the sensor into an uncalibrated "dumb" analog sensor. It should be noted, though, that in some cases we could be talking about a signal to the scope that may be low, perhaps even near the noise level of the scope, which limits the usefulness of this method at low powers.
    3. If the need is to see the pulse width – the temporal profile – the solution (assuming applicable specs) is to use the FPS-1 connected to a scope; you can point it anywhere where it will catch some backscatter from your laser, and you'll see the pulse temporal form as it really is.
    How can I measure the energy of short pulses on a thermal detector when its response time is as slow as several seconds?
    The thermal sensor works by measuring the heat flowing through its sensor. When measuring a short pulse, the heat is absorbed in the sensor absorber and then flows out through the sensing elements. The integral of this heat flow is a measure of the energy. Thus the sensor is actually measuring the energy that flows after the pulse is finished and the pulse width does not matter for this measurement.
    My laser wavelength is not showing up as a selectable wavelength when I use a thermal detector. I only see a range. Why?
    Ophir "Thermal" detectors have flat regions of response over their entire usable range. Ophir does a calibration for this flat region and when the detector is no longer flat it gets a new calibration for this new flat region. This is why there are regions instead of discrete wavelengths.
    Can I get a longer cable for the thermal sensor?
    The thermal sensors can be ordered with a longer than the standard 2 meter cable in the following longer lengths;
    3 meter P/N 7Z11129A
    5 meter P/N 7Z1124A
    10 meter P/N 7Z11137A
    For water-cooled sensors, the specifications say that the temperature of the cooling water should be in the range of 18 – 30 °C. Tap water is usually colder in our country. Is it OK to use water that is colder than the specified range?
    A: Assuming the water temperature and flow rate are stable, the 2 possible concerns in such a case would be:
    • Water condensation on the absorbing surface
    • Offset caused the difference between the ambient room temperature and the temperature of the sensor. The sensor "sees" 2 different temperatures – that of the cooling water flowing inside it, and that of the room air around it. If that temperature difference is small (as it usually is if the water temperature is in the usual specified range), then the air temperature's effect on the sensor body will be negligible compared with the cooling water temperature. However, if it is a large difference, there will be some level of heat flow between the (cold) sensor and the (warmer) air, and this will result in some level of offset in the reading.
    What water flow rate is needed if I use my water cooled sensor at below full power?
    The required flow rate is proportional to the power, i.e. (min flow rate) = (published flow rate at max power)*(actual power input)/(rated maximum power) with the provision that the minimum flow rate should not be less than 1/4 of the published rate at full power.
    Is the RM9 radiometer compatible with all Ophir power meters and PC interfaces?
    It is fully compatible with these meters/interfaces:
    • Vega / Nova II (firmware vs. 2.44 or higher)
    • Juno (1.31 or higher)
    • StarLite (1.26 or higher)
    It is partially compatible with Ophir’s other meters (Nova, LaserStar, USBI, Pulsar, and Quasar). It will function properly with these devices, except with an upper power limit of ~1 mW instead of 100 mW and with reduced accuracy, see specs for more details.
    Can I measure pulsed laser power with the RM9?
    Yes, but keep in mind that the RM9 will measure average power, not energy. Also, pulse rates below ~50 Hz may generate additional noise. Pulse rates close to 18 Hz may cause beat frequency issues.
    Can I use my own chopper with the RM9?
    Yes, but it must be set to a chopping frequency of 18 Hz.
    Can I measure an 18 Hz pulsed source without the chopper?
    If your source happens to be pulsed at 18 Hz, you cannot use the chopper, since this will generate very low frequency beat signals. However, it might be possible to use the RM9 directly with your laser source, as long as you can connect a BNC sync to the RM9 sensor. Contact us about your particular application to be sure this is the right solution for you.

    BeamTrack Power/Position/Size Sensors

    I want to track my laser's power and basic beam characteristics but don't need all the very detailed information I get from a beam profiler. Is there anything I can use?
    The Ophir BeamTrack series of Power/Position/Size meters may be just the thing. In addition to all the things an ordinary power/energy meter does, the BeamTrack will measure the beam position and size as well to a precision of ~0.1mm. For a gaussian beam it will give you the actual beam waist diameter and for other beams it will give a relative number that changes with beam size. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2oliO-Cz8M for a demo of the BeamTrack.
    Can I measure position and size of a pulsed laser using a BeamTrack sensor?
    Position and Size are measured along with power. Therefore, if the laser is pulsing at a rate at which average power can be measured, then position and size can be measured as well.
    When using a BeamTrack sensor with StarLab on a PC, can I have StarLab log Position and Size data? At what sampling rate?
    Yes StarLab can log beam position.

    The BeamTrack sensors are thermal sensors. The power measurements for all Ophir power sensors are logged at 15 times a second.
    When a BeamTrack sensor is connected to StarLab via a Juno, the position / size measurements are also logged 15 times a second.
    When a BeamTrack sensor is connected to StarLab via a Vega/ Nova II, the position / size measurements are logged once a second. This is because in the Vega / Nova II we sample these parameters slower.
    Are BeamTrack sensors backwards compatible with the Nova-II, Vega and Juno devices?
    The hardware of all of these devices supports the BeamTrack sensors however, the firmware may need to be upgraded. Click here for a free download of the latest firmware from our web site
    For what type of laser spots can we measure position and size with BeamTrack sensors?
    Position can be measured for any beam shape. Size can be measured to specified accuracy only for Gaussian (TEM00) beams. For other laser modes, size measurement is relative only.
    What meters support the BeamTrack (PPS) sensors?
    The Vega, Nova II, StarLite, and Juno support the BeamTrack (PPS) sensors. All other instruments can display power and single-shot energy of a BeamTrack sensor, but do not display beam position and size at this time.

    Photodiode Laser Power Sensors


    What does the PD300 "Background Subtraction" do?
    Ophir's Photodiode PD-300, PD300-1W and PD300-3W series sensors offer automatic background subtraction so the measurement is not sensitive to room light. With "filter out" (i.e. the external filter removed for low light measurements), 2 separate detector elements are visible. The beam to be measured is incident only on the outer of the 2 detectors, but background light reaches both detectors. The instrument will show the power measured by the outer detector minus that measured by the inner detector.
    This patented method cancels out 95% - 98% of background light under normal room conditions, even if it is constantly changing.
    The total error when using a PD-300 head is listed as +/- 3%. Is that 3% of the reading or 3% of the total range?
    It's +/-3% of the reading from full scale down to 5% of full scale. Below 5% of full scale one should switch to next range down for the best accurate linear results.
    Are there etalon effects with the PD300 between the different filters causing instability of readings?
    No. We have carefully designed them that there are no such effects from multiple reflections. This is because we use only absorbing or diffusing type elements.
    What is the accuracy of the PD300 sensor at 350-360nm?
    It works there but accuracy is very poor ~20% so it is not specified below 360nm. The PD300-UV is recommended for these shorter wavelengths.

    Using Your Sensor

    When I hook my PD300 photodiode sensor to a Vega I see 5 drop-down wavelengths? Is that all I can use, or is there a way to select the wavelength I need to use it at?
    Yes, the 5 default wavelengths are the discrete wavelengths that we have actually calibrated that sensor to NIST-Traceable standards. We have also run a spectrophotometer curve for that sensor and fitted that curve to the 5 discrete wavelengths that you see in the drop down menu. To set it to a wavelength that one needs (within its spectral bandwidth, i.e. 350-1100 nm for the PD300 and 200-1100 nm for the PD300_UV) one highlights one of drop down wavelengths in the drop down using the Down arrow key, and then you use the Right arrow selector to get into the menu for changing it. Then one uses the Up and Down and Right Arrow keys to select the wavelength that one wants to use it at. When done press SAVE and then SAVE again. Now it's stored in the E-PROM of the Smart Sensor connector and available for use. One can repeat the above procedure to store any 5 wavelengths that they use most often.
    See the Video on how to change the sensor wavelength: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qWXouQP18U
    Can I use a sensor from the PD300 family to measure average power of pulsed lasers?
    In general yes, but several technical issues need to be kept in mind (most of which are results of the fast physical response time of these sensors):
    1. The pulse rate should be more than about 30Hz, otherwise the reading is unstable. At higher pulse frequencies, the sensor will respond as if the beam were CW.
    2. It is possible for a pulsed beam to have average power within the sensor spec and yet have the energy of the pulses themselves be high enough to cause a momentary saturation of the sensor. It is important to be sure that pulse energy is also within sensor spec (the parameter "Max pulse energy" is included in all specs for the PD300 family, for just this reason).
    3. The beam diameter should be no less than about 1mm .
    4. The average power and power density restriction in the spec should not be exceeded

    Note: At the maximum pulse energy limit given in the spec, the reading will be saturated by about 5%, i.e. the reading will be about 5% lower than it should be. At 1/3 the maximum, the saturation will be about 1%.
    How do I take off the removable filter from the PD300?
    Removing External Filter from PD300

    Step 1 – Starting position

    Step 2

    Step 3
    Can I buy a filter replacement for my PD300 sensor and replace it myself? Mine is lost, damaged, etc.
    The short answer is yes. However the yes comes with caveats. Each replacement filter is calibrated against a monochromator at the time of manufacture. If the filter is replaced by the customer this calibration is void because there is no way to input this spectral sensitivity curve into the sensor EEROM in the field. To have the replacement filter calibrated with the sensor it must come back for recalibration.
    There is the ability to adjust the Filter IN calibration factors within the meter, but if the adjustments are performed by the customer NIST traceability is lost. The entire curve is not adjusted with this process. Only wavelengths selected by the user and adjusted are changed. This can lead to gross measurement errors if used at a wavelength that the customer has not adjusted. We recommend that the filter replacement be performed at the factory to maintain NIST traceability and avoid measurement errors.
    How can one replace and recalibrate the PD300 removable filter without sending the sensor back?
    The agent can order a replacement filter with software to load into sensor to update sensor calibration curve.
    Can the PD300 be used with the filter in and with fiber adapter at the same time?
    Yes, the adapter is arranged so the user can use it either with filter out or in.
    When measuring a fiber output, should I put the fiber tip right up against the PD300 detector? If not, how close should I come?
    The PD300 sensors are not designed to measure with the fiber pushed up right against the detector surface. It may be reading lower in such a case due to saturation of the detector from the concentrated beam or higher due to back reflections off the detector and back again from the fiber tip. The optimal reading will be where the beam is expanded to a size of 2-5mm diameter. Therefore, you should back off the fiber to a distance where the beam has expanded somewhat. Do not back off too far, otherwise if the nominal beam size is larger than given above, you may lose some of the beam off the edges of the detector.
    I am using a PD300 type sensor. I have a broadband light source, but only want to measure the power of a specific wavelength. Can I set my meter to that wavelength and get a measurement?
    The PD300 series of photodiode-based sensors are calibrated with a full spectral curve using a scanning monochromator (plus a few laser "anchor points").

    The wavelength ("Laser") setting tells the meter what wavelength is being used and hence what calibration factor to apply when a measurement is underway. It does not, however, physically limit the possibility of other wavelengths from entering. All light (within the sensor's specified range of course) entering the detector will be measured; the meter will apply the calibration factor meant for the selected wavelength, "thinking" that only that wavelength is present.

    In other words, these sensors assume a monochromatic light source. Their relative spectral response is not flat and they are therefore not suited for broadband beams.

    So, if you want to check one wavelength from a broadband source, you will need to use a wavelength filter that only passes that wavelength. Then you should set your meter to the appropriate wavelength to account for the detector's relative sensitivity.
    Why is the PD300-1W specified for only up to 10W/cm² , while the regular PD300 can go up to 50W/cm?
    The PD300-1W also has an extra ND filter glass, one with more attenuation. This sensor works at up to 1W, and at this higher power the extra ND glass gets hot; as a result, its absorption can change (becoming less absorbing) so it is not specified for use at above 10W/cm2. Not because it will damage there, but because it will not perform correctly there .

    (It is worth noting that the PD300-3W has a different type of extra filter based on an evaporated reticle. This filter does not change its absorption when it gets hot, so can be used at up to 100W/cm2.)
    Can I use a PD300 photodiode sensor to measure power of a scanned beam?
    For measuring power of a scanned beam we recommend using the BC20, and not the PD300. Since a scanned beam will spend only a fraction of the time of each scan on the detector, the average power measured by the detector will correspondingly be only a fraction of the actual power of the beam. The BC20 is specially designed for such applications by having a peak-hold circuit integrated in its electronics

    Special Photodiode Sensors

    How does the BC20 measure the true power of a scanned beam?
    The BC20 has a peak measurement and hold circuit which measures the peak power on the detector and holds it. Therefore when a beam is scanned over the detector, when the beam is on the detector it goes up to a peak which corresponds to the same power the detector would measure if the beam was stationary and therefore the BC20 reads the correct power whether the beam is scanned or not. In order for the BC20 to do this, the beam must be on the detector (of size 10x10mm) for at least ~13µs and therefore this limits the scanning speed on the detector to 30,000 inch/s.
    Integrating spheres are used when you have divergent light sources. How do they work?
    Integrating Sphere Theory
    Integrating spheres are used when we have divergent light sources. As shown in the illustration, an integrating sphere has its inner surface coated with a surface that highly reflects (typically 99%) in a scattering, nonspecular way. Thus when a divergent beam hits the walls of the integrating sphere, the light is reflected and scattered many times until the light hitting any place on the walls of the sphere has the same intensity.

    A detector placed in the sphere thus gets the same intensity as anywhere else and the power the detector detects is thus proportional to the total incident power independent of the beam divergence. (The detector is so arranged that it only sees scattered light and not the incident beam). An ideal integrating sphere has a surface with reflective properties are Lambertian. This means that light incident on the surface is scattered uniformly in all directions in the 2pi steradians solid angle above the surface. The surface used by Ophir closely approximates a Lambertian surface.

    Integrating Sphere Theory

    3A-IS Series
    The 3A-IS series has two 50mm integrating spheres in series with a photodiode detector. The two series spheres scramble up the light very well thus giving output very independent of incident beam divergence angle. The two spheres in series also insure that the light hitting the detector is greatly reduced in intensity thus allowing use up to 3 Watts even though photodiodes saturate at about 1mW. There are two models, the 3A-IS with a silicon photodiode for 400 – 1100nm and the 3A-ISIRG with an InGaAs detector for 800 – 1700nm
    Integrating Sphere Theory

    Are there any special problems with the calibration stability of integrating sphere sensors?
    The Ophir integrating sphere sensors, models 3A-IS, 3A-IS-IRG and F100A-IS have a white diffuse reflecting coating on the inside of the integrating sphere. The sensitivity of the sensor is quite sensitive to the reflectivity of the coating. If the coating absorption goes up 1%, it can cause a 5% change in reading. Therefore, care must be taken not to soil or damage the white coating of the sensors. Also it may be a good idea to send the sensors for recalibration yearly.
    What is the purpose of the auxiliary LED accessory for the 3A-IS integrating sphere?
    The auxiliary LED is used to increase accuracy in cases where the source under measurement is reflective or protrudes into the integrating sphere. The auxiliary LED is used to measure this effect and calibrate it out.
    The auxiliary LED emits at 390nm, while the measured UV LED can emit between 350nm and 400nm. Will this increase the measurement error?
    For the most demanding accuracy requirements, a broadband source is used for the auxiliary lamp, and a spectrometer monitors the effect of self-absorption across the spectrum. For UVLEDs, in the limited spectral range of 350nm-400nm, using the auxiliary LED at 390nm is an efficient solution, and the error due to self-absorption is reduced from up to ±20% to up to ±5%.
    I am measuring a 375nm LED. The auxiliary LED is emitting at 390nm. Do I need to set the wavelength at 390nm when I am making the self-absorption calibration measurements?
    No. the self-absorption measurement is a relative measurement, so keep the wavelength setting at wavelength of the LED you are measuring.
    I wish to increase the accuracy of the measurement. Can I get the auxiliary LED in a different wavelength than 390nm?
    Yes. Contact Ophir.

    Pyroelectric Laser Energy Sensors


    How do I get the most accuracy out of my pyroelectric sensor by zeroing?
    All PE sensors are less accurate at a low percentage of full scale. Therefore it is always recommended to measure energies on the lowest range available (e.g. measure 1.8mJ on the 2mJ scale not the 20mJ scale). In order to get highest accuracy from your sensor, especially at low percentage of full scale, it should be zeroed against the meter the first time it is used with this meter. This is especially true for the PE-C series that can be used down to 3% of full scale if zeroed but can have an error of 2% at 10% of scale if not. The sensors are factory zeroed against the Vega/Nova II so need not be rezeroed if used with these types. If used with the Juno, Pulsar, USBI or LaserStar, they should be rezeroed. If zeroed with one type and then later used with a different type, they should be rezeroed the first time used with the different type.
    What is the temperature dependence of pyroelectric sensors?
    Ophir pyroelectric sensors have a positive temperature coefficient of 0.2% per degC which means that if the sensor heats up 10 degrees, the reading will be 2% high. The PD10 and PD10-pJ sensors use photodiode detectors so their temperature coefficient is the same as the PD300 sensors as listed on the PD300 pages of the Ophir catalog. The newest PE-C series of pyroelectric sensors (available June 2011) have a temperature sensor on board and a software correction for the heating effect so the reading is considerably more stable as the sensor heats up during use.
    What happens if you measure pulses longer than maximum pulse width setting you are on?
    The sensor will stop integrating after the pulse width setting is reached and will lose part of the pulse. It will then read low. For instance if you try to measure a pulse width of 200us on a pulse width setting of 100us, the sensor will probably ready about 50% of the true energy.
    Are there any problems with the accuracy of the first pulses of a long train of pulses?
    If the pulse repetition rate is close to the maximum allowable rate for the chosen pulse width option, the first 0.5-1s of readings may read incorrectly low. This is only a problem for long pulse width settings (exceeding ~5ms).
    What is the variation in sensitivity from sensor to sensor in V/J for the PE-S type sensors?
    The variation is approximately +/-20%.
    Are pyro sensors suitable for power measurement and if so, what is the accuracy?
    All Ophir pyroelectric sensors can measure average power with Ophir Power and Energy Meters. The instrument measures the number of pulses each second and divides the energy reading by the pulse rate. If the pulse rate is constant, then the accuracy of power measurement will be the same as the energy accuracy since the pulse rate measurement is very accurate.


    What is the diffuser transmission for the PE50BB-DIF at various wavelengths?
    Approximately: 40% at 193nm, 45% at 250nm, 60% at 0.4um, 65% at 0.6um, 70% at 0.8um, 75% for 1 -3um
    What is the absorption of the pyroelectric broadband coating in the region 20-40um?
    We only have data to 10.6um but have reason to believe that it absorbs >80% up to 40um.
    Can the PE10 sensor be used at 10.6um and how accurate is it?
    It can be used and is calibrated but very poor accuracy ~15% and high reflectance ~85%
    Can the PE50BB-DIF be used with an erbium laser at 2.94um?
    No. The diffuser transmits very little past 2.5um. Use the PE50-DIF-ER.

    Using Your Sensor

    What is the new "User Threshold" feature on the new Pyro-C series and how does it work?
    The new Pyro-C sensors have a "user threshold" feature allowing the user to adjust the measurement threshold in noisy environments. Increasing the threshold will prevent triggering on noisy signals and allow accurate measurment of energy and frequency, as long as the laser pulses are larger than the noise.

    The trigger level can be adjusted up to 25% of full scale, however operation depends on the pulse width setting. For pulse width settings below ~0.25ms, the minimum energy that can be measured accurately is approximately 40% above the user threshold setting. Pulses below this energy level will trigger the sensor down to the user threshold level, but accuracy is compromised.

    For pulse width settings above ~0.25ms, accuracy is good all the way down to the threshold. If the laser pulse width is less than 1/2 the setting, the minimum energy corresponds to the setting. However, with longer laser pulse widths, the minimum energy will be higher, rising to approximately twice the user threshold level when the laser pulse width is equal to the sensor pulse width setting.

    It is recommended always to set the user threshold to the minimum possible setting to retain best energy accuracy in any given situation. See the user manual for further information on how to use the user threshold.
    Can pyro sensors be used for single pulse measurements?
    Yes, all Ophir pyroelectric sensors can measure at rates as low as you want down to single pulses.
    Can the pyro scope adapter be used with an Ophir pyro sensor without a Power and Energy Meters?
    No, even though the scope adapter allows viewing of the actual electrical pulses coming out of the sensor and thus looking at higher repetition rates, the Power and Energy Meters is still needed to supply power to the sensor and to enable changing of ranges.
    Is there a minimum rise time or pulse width for energy sensors?
    Our energy detectors measure the total energy deposited within a time window defined by the pulse width setting selected via the Power and Energy Meters. There is no minimum pulse width limitation since we are measuring the energy deposited, not power or peak power.
    Can our sensors work in a vacuum?
    If the vacuum is not ultra high and the system is unheated, yes. The user has to rewire the 15 pin plug into a vacuum feedthrough or if possible, use the wireless Quasar interface.
    What happens if I use a pyro sensor with a beam whose pulse repetition rate is higher than the sensor’s rated maximum rep rate?
    Above the maximum rep rate of the sensor, the reading starts dropping until presumably at some rep rate it does not respond at all. This is because the maximum rep rate of the sensor is a function of the electrical (i.e. “RC”) and thermal time constants of the sensor, and when you go beyond those, the sensor is physically unable to respond fast enough. This is not to be confused with going beyond the maximum rated pulse rate of the meter. The meter will sample the data at the meter’s maximum rate, and when the meter is ready for the next pulse it will sample the next one that comes in; the sensors, on the other hand, have a physical limitation on how fast they can respond to pulses altogether.
    How does the pyroelectric sensor behave for pulsed radiation at a frequency which is over the data sampling rate?
    The Power and Energy Meters simply decides it is time for a sample and takes the next pulse that comes after that time, e.g. if it samples at 400 Hz, then every 1/400th of a second it is ready to take the next pulse that comes along.
    What should I do if my pyro sensor triggers on a sensitive range even without a laser pulse?
    The problem is most probably acoustic vibration. Pyroelectric sensors are sensitive to vibration as well as heat. On the most sensitive scales of sensitive sensors such as the PE9 and PE10, they may be very sensitive to vibration. Ophir sells a shock absorbing mounting post with rubber insulation to damp out vibrations from the table which may help. The part number is 7Z08268. The newer PE-C series of pyroelectric sensors have an adjustable threshold so you can set the threshold to a value above the noise level but below energies you want to measure and thus eliminate false triggering.
    I seem to be getting incorrect/ illogical readings with my pyroelectric sensor at low energy levels.
    The problem is most probably false triggering caused by acoustic vibration. If the pulse frequency as shown on the meter jumps around, then acoustic vibration is almost certainly the problem. Pyroelectric sensors are sensitive to vibration, and they in fact detect acoustic pulses through the same physical mechanism with which they detect laser pulses. On the more sensitive scales of sensitive sensors such as the PE9 and PE10, they may be very sensitive to vibration. You can see this by setting such a sensor to a low energy scale (e.g. 2 mJ) and clapping your hand once, just above the sensor's surface; you will get a reading. The solution is to put an acoustically absorbing material such as a thin piece of soft foam plastic under the base of the sensor to damp out any vibration; acoustic noise carries primarily through the base (rather than through the air). Ophir also sells a shock absorbing mounting post (P/N 7Z08268) which may help. If you have the one of the newer PE-C series sensors, then set the user adjustable threshold to above the noise level to eliminate the false triggering.
    What should I do to prevent damage to the pyroelectric sensor?
    Before using the pyroelectric sensor for power or energy measurement, check that your laser power, energy and energy density do not exceed the head ratings. Use the laser damage test slide that has been sent with your sensor at the laser energy you want to measure to make sure it does not damage.
    Please check the included data sheet or check on the website for the same information;


    With the pyroelectric head, you have been supplied a test slide with the same coating as on your pyroelectric detector. You can also obtain this slide from your dealer. You should use this slide to test the damage threshold with your laser pulses. If the slide is damaged, then either enlarge your beam or lower the laser energy until damage is no longer seen.

    Can I use a PE-C pyroelectric sensor for higher powers for a short time without the optional heat sink?
    The catalog specification states the maximum power a sensor can be used with and without the heat sink. The purpose of the heat sink is to keep the sensor temperature below the maximum permitted at higher average powers. If you use the sensor for a short time only, on the order of 1-2 minutes at a time, you should be able to measure up to the higher power given in the spec even without the heat sink.
    Why is a special adapter needed for the newer PE-C type sensors to work with the Nova meter?
    The new PE-C sensors use a different pin on the D15 connector for the voltage output from the sensor than the previous sensors. All other meters can accept the voltage on either of two pins, so they work with either the previous sensors or the PE-C series. But the Nova does not have this additional input. Therefore, in order for a Nova to work with the PE-C series, an adapter, Ophir P/N 7Z08272 has been made available. The adapter plugs between the D15 socket of the Nova and the D15 plug from the PE-C sensor. If you want to use the Nova RS232 PC adapter, this can be plugged in as well onto the PE-C adapter and used at the same time. Note that the Nova does not support all the new features of the PE-C family such as user threshold and 5 different pulse width settings but will support all the features that were available on the previous PE line.
    Are the new Pyro-C energy sensors compatible with all Ophir meters?
    Yes, with certain limitations. Here are the points to be aware of:
    Vega, Nova II and StarLite meters, and Juno PC interface: Full support of all features
    All other instruments (Nova/Orion and LaserStar meters, as well as USBI, Pulsar, and Quasar PC interfaces): Support the Pyro-C sensors, except for the following features: Only 2 of the 5 pulse width settings are available.
    User selectable threshold is not available.
    In addition to the above: When using a Pyro-C sensor with the Nova (or Orion) meter, the "Nova PE-C Adapter" (Ophir p/n 7Z08272) is required.
    Why won't a new Pyroelectric compact C sensor work with the Nova meter?
    In order to operate a new Pyroelectric C sensor with the older style Nova meter a Nova PE-C adapter is required, P/N 7Z08273. The new Pyroelectric compact C sensors are complete electronic and mechanical upgrades of the previous Pyroelectric sensors. The new C series sensors are more compact, have wider dynamic range, support higher repetition rates and will measure longer pulses. To take full advantage of all the new features of the Pyroelectric C sensors requires a Nova II or Vega meter, or Juno PC interface.
    Can the "SH-to-BNC Adapter" be used to see analog output from pyro sensors?
    The SH-to-BNC Adapter is meant only for power sensors, i.e. thermal or PD300 type sensors. For seeing an analog representation of energy measured by a pyro sensor, including Pyro-C sensors (other than using the AN OUT from the meter), we have the PE Scope Adapter. It is different that the SH-BNC adapter used for power sensors. With the pyro scope adapter connected between the pyro sensor and the meter, you can look at the output of every single pulse on an oscilloscope at up to the maximum pulse rate of the sensor, even if that is beyond the maximum pulse rate of the meter. Unlike "dumb" sensors, here you look at a square output after signal processing where the voltage is approximately proportional to pulse energy. (The temporal shape of the pulse form on the scope, however, is not related to that of the laser pulse; it is a function of the sensor's electronics).

    PC Interfaces

    USBI and Juno

    How can I control Ophir USB speaking devices from the PC?
    All USB speaking devices (Juno, Pulsar and USB as well as the Vega and Nova-II Power and Energy Meters) can be controlled via our StarLab. This provides full remote control and measurement capabilities. In addition, system integrators can make use of the OphirLMMeasurement COM object for all of our USB speaking devices that are included in the application installation. Documentation and Examples in Visual Basic, LabVIEW are found in the "Automation Examples" sub-directory of your StarLab directory.

    Note: ActiveX components (UsbX for USB Interface, Vega, and Nova-II; FastX for Pulsar) are still provided for legacy systems but do not support the latest features (no Juno support, no Windows 7 support)

    For our legacy LabVIEW community of developers we continue to supply the Ophinstr and DemoForPulsar libraries to get your LabVIEW VI solution started.
    What is the maximum number of sensors that can be connected via USB to one PC?
    The StarLab can support up to 8 sensors simultaneously. This can be through attaching 8 sensors to 8 different USB Interfaces, 8 sensors to 2 Pulsars or any combination in between. Note that when working with a large number of devices you may run out of ports on the PC. In that case, you must use a USB compliant Hub
    How fast can I measure a pyro sensor with the Pulsar and USB Interface using the analog output?
    The Analog output for Pyro sensor can measure up to 10 Hz. Therefore if you want to measure at a higher frequency (up to the maximum frequency of the sensor), you can connect the Scope Adapter for Pyro sensor (Ophir P/N 1Z11012). This adapter provide a BNC output to scope to see every pulse up to the maximum sensor frequency. Note: The Pulsar device is not equipped with an analog output
    What is the difference between the StarCom and StarLab PC applications?
    StarCom is our legacy PC application which connects via RS232 (not USB), for those Ophir instruments having RS232 interface capability (Vega, Nova II, LaserStar and Nova). It performs all basic functions such as real-time data logging, saving data in PC file, off-line data viewing, printing, etc. For a relatively new computer, you'd have to check that it has a serial port to which to connect the meter. The last release of StarCom was in 2008, with all that this implies. StarCom should nevertheless be able to work on a Win7 32 bit PC. More information, including software download, is available at http://www.ophiropt.com/laser-measurement-instruments/laser-power-energy-meters/software/starcom.

    StarLab is our full-featured PC application that connects via USB to all Ophir USB-speaking instruments (Vega and Nova II meters, as well as Juno, Pulsar, USBI and the Bluetooth-enabled Quasar PC interfaces). In addition to all basic measurement and data logging functions, it also offers a wide range of special functions (including user-defined mathematical functions), multi-channel operation, COM Object for integration with external systems, etc. More information, and software download, is available at http://www.ophiropt.com/en/laser-measurement-instruments/laser-power-energy-meters/software/starlab.
    When installing StarLab, the installer asks if this is a standard or OEM installation. What does this mean?
    From StarLab, we support customer tailored OEM features as well as standard application features. If OEM is selected, the user will be asked to enter his OEM code. The OEM code is specific to each type of tailored interface ordered. If the code is entered, a special installation (with the requested features) will be performed. For all other customers, the Standard installation is the correct choice.
    What is StarLab laser measurement software?
    This software package is free, and when combined with our USB-capable meters such as Vega or Nova II, or our USB based PC interfaces such as Juno, Pulsar and USBI, it is the ultimate in live data viewing, collection and analysis of laser power and energy measurements.
    StarLab is a standalone software package that is very modular. Use it with up to 8 instruments or PC Interfaces to display and collect data from all 8 simultaneously. You can perform math functions like A/B, A-B, A+B, or A*B. Display all on one coordinate system with a different color for each, or split them into several windows. View data in line, bar graph, histogram, or use our simulated analog meter with or without hysteresis. Get live statistics like min, max, average, and std. dev., or select batch size for stats. There's more:
    • Measure power and/or energy density , based on user defined beam size.
    • Time-synched multi-channel logs to a single log file for later review.
    • COM Object for system integrators including in LabVIEW.
    If you have one of our instruments with USB or our USB interfaces, download it for free and try it out. If you don't have one of our instruments or USB interfaces contact us, and set up a free demonstration in your lab or production floor. You can download it from this page.
    Why upgrade to StarLab 3 laser measurement software? (And when not to upgrade?)
    The big difference between StarLab 3 and 2.4 is also the first difference you'll see: the GUI was completely redone with the aim at usability and keeping focused on your laser and your measurement data. So there are fewer peripherals to distract you and you can minimize various tabs and panels. This makes for a completely different user experience that you're just going to have to see to believe. (Go download it free now and you'll see what I mean.)
    There are two other major improvements that I should mention:
    • The numerical display can be made full screen and has a reverse highlighting option so it can be easily seen from across the room, even in dim lighting.
    • Sensors can now be added or removed on the fly; there's no need to restart StarLab
    The one case where you should stick with StarLab 2.4 is if you use a Quasar PC interface. The Quasar is not compatible with StarLab 3.

    Find out more (and download StarLab) on the product page.
    Do I need to uninstall StarLab 2.4 when upgrading to StarLab 3?
    When installing StarLab 3, there is usually no need to uninstall or delete StarLab 2.4, although it might be best in order to avoid confusion between the StarLab versions, and to keep the PC clean and tidy. (Only Quasar customers need to keep StarLab 2.4.)

    If you'd like to uninstall the old version, it's best to do so before installing StarLab 3. If you uninstall StarLab 2.4 after installing StarLab 3, you might need to re-register the drivers (and COM object if using it) via "Registration" under the StarLab 3 options menu gear:

    Uninstalling StarLab 2.4 will remove the files and folder names created when StarLab 2.4 was originally installed, but will leave/preserve other files and folders with other names created by the user (such as log files or COM automation code files) even if left in the StarLab 2.4 folders, as long as the code files were saved under a name other than the original demo codes we supplied.
    When logging data to a file for a specific period using StarLab, the displayed statistics (Avg., Std. Dev., etc.) continue to update with new added data, even after the logging period is over. This makes it difficult to write down the correct numbers for the specified time period before they've changed, and leaves me needing to run a script of the data file to get the numbers right. Is there a way to make the display stop updating at the end of the logging period?
    In the main menu, select Options>>Preferences>>logging, and enable the "Open Log Viewer Automatically" check box.
    How can I use the USBI application on Windows 7?
    USBI was upgraded to StarLab, which is compatible with Windows 7 (32 and 64-bit). Download the latest version of StarLab here.
    I’ve upgraded to version 3.00 of StarLab and my Nova-II no longer is supported. What happened?
    Whenever we release a new version of StarLab we add support or deal with various other meter-specific issues. This may necessitate upgrading the meter firmware to the latest release. This release is included in the StarLab package and simply enter the Field Upgrade dialog in order to upgrade your meter to be up to date.


    If you have designed your own data collection software to take data from the USB on the Nova II, can you do the same with the Quasar?
    You absolutely can use the Quasar to do data collection, but how similar the process will be depends on the type of sensor being used. If you are using Ophir Thermopile and Photodiode sensors, these work much the same way on the Quasar as they do on the Nova-II. You should be able to collect data in much the same way as you do today. You just need to establish a Bluetooth connection, open a COM port on the PC, and then can send commands as with the Nova II. You might need a small amount of low level code just to send/receive the commands and strip the prefix/suffix, which is not difficult. Ophir-Spiricon tech support can help. If you are using Pyroelectric sensors, however, you will have to wait for the ActiveX package to be released, because the communications are very different from the Nova II, and you will not be able to handle the data on your own. Your data collection software might be somewhat different, as well, but it will function similarly to the Pulsar. Note also the "every pulse" data rate on the Quasar with a Pyro sensor will be lower than on the Nova II; we guarantee 500 pulses/second in our spec.
    Does the Quasar require annual recalibration?
    The Quasar is no different than the other instruments that have electronic components: it requires annual recalibration. But it’s up to the customer whether to do this or not. We know that the calibration of the instruments degrades somewhat over time, as shown in the datasheet. This may or may not affect your particular application. To maintain compliance with ISO and other standards, we highly encourage annual recalibration.
    Can one device transmit data to more than one Bluetooth receiver? What if you are reading the data on a laptop in the clean room (one area) while simultaneously recording the data in an adjacent office?
    Unfortunately, this is not possible, at this point. The Quasar can establish a connection with only one host PC at a time. If you connect to the laptop in the clean room, you will not be able to then connect to another PC in an adjacent office; the Quasar will be locked out. You would have to cut the connection on the laptop before you could establish the connection to the second PC. On the other hand, the beauty of the Quasar is that you can ONLY connect to the second PC in the adjacent room, outside the clean room, and log all the data from there. There is no need for a laptop in the clean room, unless of course, if you need to observe data while in there, in which case you would have to do the above.
    How far can the Quasar really transmit data and can it go through walls?
    In actual testing done at customer sites, using the high power option, there was not a place within 100 meters that we could not connect, including going through multiple walls that were made of drywall. The only time we lost transmission was when the walls were made of concrete or we had to pass through some metal doors. With normal labs and offices the signal went right through. In several cases, including a solar power scribing application where windowed doors had to be closed, we were getting a continuous connection as we walked around the spacious building into offices and labs. With the standard range option, the range should be about 1/3 of this i.e. 30 meters.
    At what frequency does the Quasar work? Might there be concerns with interference from other devices?
    Quasar runs on Bluetooth, the 2.4-2.5GHz "ISM" band (ISM = Industrial, Scientific and Medical). This is the same band used by WiFi and other technologies. This frequency was chosen as it is available without restrictions around the world. Because other technologies also use it, Bluetooth has to be designed to tolerate interference from other sources. It does this by swapping between 79 channels, at 2.402GHz up to 2.480GHz (each channel is 1MHz). This type of modulation is called FHSS, Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum. If data does not get through on one channel it retries on a different channel. Other technologies, such as WiFi, use different techniques.

    This design makes Bluetooth very robust. In principle, if there is another radio transmitter nearby that is using the same 2.4-2.5GHz band AND using the same modulation scheme, interference is a possibility, but not a real likelihood. If the other transmitter is using a different band, there should not be a problem, because there is very little interference produced at other higher or lower frequencies - this is checked during qualification of these devices for CE and FCC in RF test labs.

    In general, Bluetooth is in common use everywhere, by cellular phone headsets, for example, so interference is not normally a significant risk factor.
    Will my Quasar work with my Android device?
    Yes, we have an Android app that you can download from the Android Market place to run your Quasar on your Android device. Search for Ophir Optronics Quasar. You need to be running Android 2.3.3 or higher.
    How do I pair the Quasar interface with my computer?
    If using the Bluetooth radio USB adaptor supplied with the Quasar, the adaptor software should be installed first. Once that is complete, and the StarLab software installation is complete, you are ready to connect the Quasar. You may need to change the discovery settings on your PC to allow the Quasar to connect.

    To accomplish this, go to the Bluetooth Settings on your PC and ensure you have checked "Allow Bluetooth devices to find this computer".
    Which version of StarLab should I use with the Quasar
    The Quasar is fully supported in StarLab version 2.40. StarLab 3.00 doesn’t support the Quasar.

    Software Automation (LabVIEW)

    I see that you have several LabVIEW packages. What is the difference between them?
    Libraries for Nova and LaserStar were developed in LabVIEW 6.1. They have been tested and found compatible with LabVIEW 7.0 and LabVIEW 8.6.1 as well.

    The library for Nova-II, Vega, USBI, and Juno support (OphirInstr) was developed in LabVIEW 8.6.1 and has been tested with NI-VISA 4.6.2. It also includes support for the Single Channel LaserStar. This has been tested in LabVIEW 2009 as well.

    The library for Pulsar support (DemoForPulsar) was developed in LabVIEW 7.0 and tested in LabVIEW 8.6.1 as well.

    The new LabVIEW COM Demo that supports the Juno, Vega, Nova-II, Pulsar, and USBI devices was developed in LabVIEW 8.6.1 and has been tested in LabVIEW 2009 and LabVIEW 2010 as well
    Using your LabVIEW VIs, I have followed all of the instructions and receive the error "1301" etc.
    Device responses take the form 1.234 (a period distinguishes between the integer and fractional part of a real number). This may not match the settings of the computer upon which the VI is running. For example, many European countries use a comma (",") in place of a period (1,234). This causes the LabVIEW VI to not "understand" the devices's response.
    (Go to http://zone.ni.com/devzone/conceptd.nsf/webmain/99d21982a9f954e186256a5b0057919e the section on Period and Comma Decimal Separators for National Instrument's explanation)

    Solution: LabVIEW allows the User to override the local regional settings of the computer within the LabVIEW environment. To do so
    1. Open LabVIEW
    2. Select Menu >> Tools >> Options
    3. Select Front Panel in the ListBox
    4. Deselect Use localized decimal point*

    5. Close LabVIEW
    6. Open LabVIEW and run the Ophir Instrument VIs
    Using the OphInstr LabVIEW library, what should I do if the Ophir VI does not communicate with the device?
    At Ophir, we developed USB drivers for use with our StarLab application. National Instruments USB drivers work in a different manner. Ophir drivers are not compatible with NI VISA communication. NI drivers are not compatible with Ophir's StarLab application.

    SwapINF configures Windows to associate the Ophir device with NI-VISA's usb driver (NIVIUSBK.sys) when LabVIEW is selected. It configures Windows to associate the Ophir device with the appropriate Ophir usb drivers (windrvr6.sys) when USBI is selected Note, this is only necessary for working with the OphInstr LabVIEW library. Other Ophir libraries do not make use of NI-VISA and therefore it is unnecessary to run SwapINF.

    REMINDER: To work with LabVIEW, NI-VISA 4.6.2 or higher (from National Instruments) must also be installed.

    Click here to download the self-extracting "SwapINF Utility". Run the SwapINF utility and follow the on-screen instructions to configure the USB speaking device (USBI or Nova-II) for LabVIEW or USBI PC work as desired.
    What should I do if I have IEEE Communication Problems?
    Signals Timing of the Adapter have been Modified by Ophir - Please verify that your IEEE Adapter is marked v2.2 or higher (External Label)
    How can I interface my Ophir Power Meter (Juno, USBI, Pulsar, NOVA II, Vega) to LabVIEW?
    For customers using the new LabVIEW COM Demo, there is nothing additional to do. Just open it and get started. If writing your own LabVIEW application, make sure that the OphirLMMeasurement COM Object is included in your LabVIEW application

    For customers using the legacy OphInstr LabVIEW package, here are additional clarification steps to assist establishing the interface to LabVIEW when connecting an Ophir meter such as the USBI/Nova II/Vega with the USB.

    The sequence for preparing to interface the Ophir USBI (or meters connected through USB) with LabVIEW is generally as follows:

    BE SURE the OPHIR CD is NOT in the PC CD drive when running SWAPINF.
    1. Disconnect any USBI OPHIR Device from the PC
    2. Run SwapINF utility
    3. Set LabVIEW option On
    4. Press "Swap" button
      You will be prompted to "Remove the Ophir USBI Devices before continuing"
      Press "OK" (you have already removed these)
    5. Press "OK" again (after SwapINF is done)
    6. Reconnect the Ophir USBI device to the PC that you wish to apply LabVIEW VI's on
      If asked by Wizard (i.e. in XP) to update software etc.
    7. Select "not this time" & press "next" button
    8. Again, press "next" (install software automatically)
      From here on you may apply LabVIEW VI's on your device
    I get the following error when trying to use a non-Ophir application (e.g., LabVIEW) with the COM Object and an Ophir USB device:
    Expected TypeLib with CLSID {[…]} and Version [X], but found Version [Y].
    (The brackets are intended to represent user-specific error information. This has been removed to show a more general version of the error message.)
    If your LabVIEW program is 64-bit, then you must run:
    Close your LabVIEW application, run the above "reg" file, then run your application again.