Frequently Asked Questions
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General Products Inquiries
Customer Service/Technical Questions
Answers & Solutions
What types of AOTF Hyperspectral Imagers do you offer?

We offfer the VA210 Video Adapter and Integrated AOTF SWIR Hyperspectral Imaging Systems, which include the IS510 and IS550 series.
What are the wavelength range of the hyperspectral imagers?
  • VA210:   0.4-0.65µm, 0.55-1.0µm, 0.9-1.7µm, and 1.5-2.5µm
  • IS510:   0.9-1.7µm
  • IS550:   0.4-0.65µm and 0.55-1.0µm
Please visit AOTF Hyperspectral Imager page for detailed technical specifications.
Do you offer customized range for the AOTF Hyperspectral Imagers?

Yes, we offfer customized range to meet commercial and defense specifications.
What types of computers are used with AOTF Hyperspectral Imagers?

The AOTF hyperspectral imaging system can be operated on both desktop and laptop computers running 32bit or 64bit Windows7.
What is 'Acousto-Optics'?

Acousto-Optics (AO) is using the phase grating set up by sound waves inside a material to affect a light beam passing through the material. The sound wave is created by a piezeo-electric transducer bonded to the material (think: ‘joy buzzer.’). The transducer is excited by a RF source.
What is an Acousto-Optic Tunable Filter (AOTF)?

An AOTF is a device, where putting a mixture of wavelengths into it, one wavelength can be separated (diffracted) out by electronic means. To clarify, except for minor transmission losses, all the light input into one side will be output to the other side; However, the chosen wavelength will be output at an angle different from that of the rest of the light. By means of an aperture, the ‘rest of the light’ (Zero Order) can be blocked, and the chosen wavelength will be the only light emitted. All the ‘chosen light’ (diffracted order, First Order) will be output at roughly the same angle. The ‘electronic means’ is a source of a specific RF frequency for a specific wavelength. The aperture, wavelength range, spectral resolution, and other possible desirata of a given AOTF depend on the details of its construction, and to some degree can be selected.
What is the difference between AO modulator and AO frequency shifter?

A Modulator is used to change the amplitude of the light signal passing through it. A Frequency Shifter gives a ‘Doppler Shift’ to the frequency of the beam passing through it. That said, a Modulator also gives the signal a small frequency shift, unless a No Frequency Shift model is purchased. Similarly, the amplitude to a Frequency Shifter can often be varied to amplitude modulate the beam passing through it. So to some extent they are interchangeable.
What is the carrier frequency, and why should I care about it?

The carrier frequency (reading the model number left to right, generally the first number in the model number,) is the frequency shift given to the light beam. The frequency of light is so high (~ 10**15 Hz) that the shift imparted ( ~ 10**8 Hz) is generally negligible. It is the frequency of the grating the acoustics creates in the crystal.
Why do I care about the carrier frequency of the Modulator I buy?

Modulating is creating and collapsing the sound grating in the crystal; this must be done fast enough to support the modulation rates you want to achieve. In terms of specifications, the carrier frequency should be approximately four times the digital modulation bandwidth; the RF bandwidth quoted should be twice the digital modulation rate wanted, and the RF bandwidth should be approximately four times the analog bandwidth wanted. In terms of functional devices, the smaller the active aperture/beam size, the higher the modulation rates possible.
What is the Bragg angle, and why is it important?

Except for Acousto-Optic Tunable Filters, the incoming light beam needs to be at the Bragg Angle for the light-acoustic interaction to occur in the crystal. The Bragg angle should be specified in the manual or can be calculated from: sin (Bragg angle) = (Wavelength x Frequency)/(2 x Acoustic velocity in crystal). You can set the device at the Bragg angle and then try translating, but generally the angle is small and set up imprecise, so the empirical way to do it is to put a slow (to the eye, 3 Hz works well) modulation on the carrier frequency, and watch for a blinking spot as the device is slowly rotated around the Bragg angle. The blinking is the First Order (diffracted spot) appearing, or the Zero Order dimming as energy is taken from it to the First Order. Once the angle is found at which the blinking occurs, (the ‘Bragg angle’,) the alignment can be optimized up/down, in/out/ and around.
The intensity of the diffracted order decreases if the AO device is rotated or moved up, down, in, or out; how else may alignment be off?

The light beam inside the device should be parallel to the electrode to feel the full affect of the acoustic beam. Except in Brewster Cut devices, the electrode is in a normal (perpendicular) direction to the optical faces. Thus to start aligning, the incoming beam should retro-reflect from the front optical. If you have a sensitive source, you may not want the retro-reflection back into a source that could cause run away gain and burn out your source; if this is the case, have the reflection from the AO device to reflect to the side of the source. By the way, acousto-optics is by and large reversible, and it doesn’t matter which side of the AO device is ‘In’ and which side is used as ‘Out.’ You may see 2 retro-reflected spots, one from the front face and one from the back face; the faces are not parallel so the device can not act as an etalon.
I want the fastest, largest aperture, most efficient device you sell. What is it?

It is a compromise, as is most of life. The rise time depends on how fast the sound beam crosses the size of the light beam; so using larger light beams will mean slower devices; and generally, the faster acoustic speeds are in lesser efficient materials. In addition, faster devices use higher sound frequencies which attenuate faster in materials. So, details Please? Tell us what you want to do, and we can probably figure out a way to do it. Almost everything we do is custom made, to some extent.
I can’t get any diffraction, and when I put my Ohmmeter across the connector, it shows a ‘short’/’open;’ doesn’t that mean the device is broken?

Not necessarily. The Ohmmeter is meant to work with DC voltages; AO devices work at frequencies generally in the MHz or higher frequencies. Inside the AO device is a circuit that enables the RF power supplied to better excite the transducer; in the circuit may be inductors that show ‘short’ at low frequencies, and capacitors that show ‘open’ at low frequencies. The resistance/impedance is frequency dependent, and requires a RF Vector- or Scalar- Network Analyzer to measure.