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Electronic Design

MEMS-Based Instrument For Optical Signal Processing

Optical spectrum processor translates optical signals into the wavelength domain for filtering or other processing.

The LambdaCommander Optical Spectrum Processor offers designers a new method for processing optical signals for design or analysis. Applications include fiber-optic sensing, optical telecommunications, and life/health science equipment evaluation.

Developed by Newport Corp., the LambdaCommander is based on Texas Instruments' Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology, which uses tiny MEMS mirrors to manipulate light signals. The mirrors can be programmed to switch off and on in an incremental manner, thereby transforming a diffracted spectral profile into an optical output. This programmable capability gives the designer full control to reshape and define with great precision the exact spectral profile desired for testing or simulation.

One common application is optical filtering, which enables you to pass selected wavelengths and block others. The unit also can apply a complex time-varying function to the spectral shape with bandwidths up to 100 nm.

The instrument seems best suited for the optical research and design laboratory, as well as manufacturing testing, because it can be programmed as needed. Some of the prime areas where it will find use include subnanometer spectral shaping, spectral gain flattening, optical coherence tomography, wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) telecommunications simulation, and optical filter design.

Newport Corp.

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