Achieve Fine Control of Pulsed Lasers with High-bandwidth Arbitrary Waveform Generators

High-power pulsed lasers drive many science and engineering experiments in spectroscopy, metrology, quantum information, atomic physics, and materials research. To perform these experiments reliably and consistently, researchers need to control pulsed lasers with high accuracy, great flexibility, and tight timing. This is where Tektronix arbitrary waveform generators (AWGs) with high sampling rates get the job done.


Create Waveforms to Induce and Fine-Tune Effects

Tek AWGs give scientists and engineers the ability to generate fast voltage pulses of all kinds of shapes (rectangular, exponential, linear and non-linear frequency modulated chirps, gaussian, and custom-defined). By generating high-resolution and wide-bandwidth signals on one or more synchronized channels, Tek AWGs can drive laser diodes or electro-optical modulators with superior fidelity and accuracy, allowing them to create realistic and complex signal scenarios that phase-align directed energy streams, induce quantum effects in new materials, and fine-tune chemical reactions, among other conditions.


Inject Interference for Rigorous Testing Under Stress

Tek AWGs include SourceXpress software for controlling the AWG instruments, giving users extensive signal creation functionality and fine definition of pulse shape, duration, frequency, amplitude, phase, and modulation (Fig. 1). Additionally, Tek AWGs empower users to inject noise, jitter, interference, and distortion into their signals to test how well their laser system performs under these stressors. This gives users clear metrics on the robustness and operational limits of their system.

Furthermore, thanks to its sequencing capabilities, SourceXpress software simplifies the creation and playback of thousands of accurately placed pulse waveforms in any order. Waveform playback can start on embedded waveform markers, on external triggers, or following specific “jump” logic to change waveforms from one sample to the next.

For example, one of the challenges in physics experiments is to manipulate frequency-chirped lasers that can span several GHz/µs, required for passage between two quantum states. Researchers can simplify these experiments by using an AWG to generate the modulation signals that control electro-optical phase modulators in injection-locked laser systems.


Precisely Modulate the Pulsed Laser Envelope

Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) is another physics application that uses multiple high-power solid-state lasers driven by AWGs. The high-power lasers output highly stable laser pulses with independent, precise and controllable time domain morphology to meet the requirement of power balance. Due to the demand of complicated time-shape laser pulses, precise temporal pulse shaping ability is of great significance, and that is where AWGs precise amplitude and timing controls provide minimum distortion and maximum energy delivery. In the particular instance below, the AWG modulates the pulsed laser envelope with precise amplitude and timing characteristics, which helps the laser deliver a specific energy profile.

Powerful Waveform Generators Enhance Efficiency of Pulsed Laser Experiments

In conclusion, Tektronix AWGs (Fig. 2 and Fig. 3) with high sampling rates are versatile and powerful instruments that can enhance the quality and efficiency of pulsed laser experiments, offering many possibilities for creating and manipulating light pulses with unprecedented precision and flexibility. If you are interested in learning more about AWGs and how they can help you with your pulsed laser experiments, please contact CN Rood.