About MatchBox CW Lasers

Compact turn-key laser system

There are more than 150 CW laser configurations in the MatchBox product family. Both direct diode and DPSS laser principles are implemented in the World's smallest MatchBox footprint. Single-frequency (or singe-longitudinal mode) options are available for the majority of wavelengths.

Features

  • SM/PM/MM fiber coupling options
  • Ultra-compact All-in-One design*
  • Thermally stabilized optics
  • Monolithic design
  • Hermetically sealed
  • Automatic power control
  • +5V supply voltage** (voltage is upconverted internally to make it suitable for various laser diodes)
*The laser head includes optics and driving electronics within a single enclosure.
**The OEM version does not include a +5V power supply. Furthermore, the break-out-box AM-C8 uses QC3.0 protocol to select a suitable voltage (typically +9VDC) and downconvert it to

High-Performance Compact Lasers

CW Matchbox lasers were developed for spectroscopy applications.

Control Interface

MatchBox series lasers (2nd edition) feature a Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter (UART) controller interface. The pinout is explained below - separately for diode and DPSS lasers.

Diode Laser with a regular spectrum



  • Tx and Rx pins are used for communication, error read-out and change of parameters
  • GND pin is common to the enclosure
  • Vcc pin is used for +VDC power
  • TTL pin can have two purposes: TTL ON/OFF modulation of the laser (in case of regular diodes) or control of a variable speed fan*** (in case of wavelength-stabilized diodes)

          ***TTL or FAN setting is factory pre-configured.

DPSS / narrow spectrum diode / high power diode lasers



  • Tx and Rx pins are used for communication, error read-out and change of parameters
  • GND pin is common to the enclosure
  • Vcc pin is used for +VDC power
  • FAN ctrl. pin is used for variable speed control of a fan***

       ***Can be configured into virtual TTL modulation having up to 1 kHz modulation bandwidth.


Breakout Box Explanation

laser with USB control

The Break-out Box (sold separately) contains UART-USB converter circuit and conventional connection ports in a robust aluminum housing.

  • Data USB-micro port is used for communication with a computer.
  • Interlock has two pins - INT-GND and INT. When the pins are shortened with an interlocking loop, the laser can be operated.
  • TTL modulation signal wires shall be conected to TTL and GND slots.
  • Power USB-C port is used for the provision of QC3.0 power. The break-out box requests +9VDC from the power supply and converts to +5VDC, thus ensuring a reliable and stable voltage supply to the laser.
  • FAN slot is compatible with all our fan-cooled heat sinks

Software Interface

Laser control softwareThe MatchBox laser control software is used for checking preset parameters, such as the max. laser diode current, target temperatures for TEC1 and TEC2 and actual measured values of these parameters, as well as the load percentage of the Peltier elements. This is very helpful for laser diode age tracking and other troubleshooting actions. Also, the software indicates if the laser is working in ACC (Automatic Current Control) or APC (Automatic Power Control) mode and has a lot of other status-indicators.

The user interface is split into 4 sections:

Power section (topmost) contains a master power switch, which turns on the laser, a radiation indicator and an operation mode indicator (ACC/APC).

Wavelength section (second from top) contains a wavelength indicator, an enable switch, optical power sub-section (explained below), diode current indicator along with the maximum allowed current. A status indicator on the right gives a warning sign once the current limit is reached - it is often associated with the laser going from the APC mode to the ACC mode.

Settings section (third from top) provides three toggle switches for configuring operation mode preference (ACC vs. APC), automatic warm-up on the provision of voltage to the laser and an auto-start switch, determining whether the laser will start radiating upon application of voltage to the power supply pins of the laser.  

Read-out section (bottommost) shows temperature readings of the integrated Peltier coolers, the enclosure (body), TEC load percentages, temperature-related warnings, fan load percentage and input voltage measurement.

The top margin of the UI displays a fragment of information, which is stored in the internal memory of the laser, i.e. serial number, model, firmware version, etc. More information is provided upon pressing 'more...'. There the user can see operating hours and the turn-on cycle counter.

Optical power sub-section comprises 3 types of settings, all of them related to the optical output power. Setting the power in mA (milliamperes) makes sense only if the laser is operating in ACC (constant current) mode. Otherwise, mW or DAC (Digital-Analogue Converter) values shall be changed, depending on, if the laser power was calibrated.

Output Power Calibration. Optical power can be changed by typing a new DAC value or power in mW (if calibrated). Calibration is possible by using a value table or special LabView tools, which supports Thorlabs power meters for automatic calibration. This way, calibration can be done for free-space output, after a fiber pigtail or at the end of a more complex optical system, such as a microscope or a flow-cell. 

Advantages

  • Easy to integrate (smallest enclosure on the market)
  • Convenient to arrange in the proximity of a working area (use of fiber pigtails is often not necessary)
  • Standard Package (MatchBox Series)
  • User-friendly software with multiple parameter monitoring
  • Low power consumption in standby-mode (important for battery-powered applications)
  • Excellent beam pointing angle and beam position accuracy
  • High cooling capacity
  • Rugged enclosure
  • Operational hours counter
  • On/Off cycle counter
  • Smart over-heat protection
  • Black surface finish absorbs reflections
  • USB power for direct diode lasers
  • Variety of accessories
  • Space-saving pinhead connector

What's in the Box?

  • Laser Source (integrated power electronics in the same enclosure)
  • 1 g of thermal grease
  • 2 screws of M2.5x20mm for fixing the laser to a mounting plate. Tightening torque 0.25 - 0.35 N·m
  • Hex key: 1,5 mm; BN:1169; DIN:911

    Note: since 1st of July 2019 the break-out-box is not added free-of-charge anymore.