HomeProductsApplicationsIntegrated Subsystems 220 mm Optical Delay Line Kit

220 mm Optical Delay Line Kit


220 mm Optical Delay Line Kit

  • Repeatable 0.67 fs Delay Steps Over a 1466 ps Range
  • Computer Controlled via Included APT Software
  • High-Speed Delay Stage Capable of 300 mm/s


  • Pulsed Pump-Probe Experiments
  • Auto Correlations, Cross Correlations, and Optical Sampling
  • Pulse Synchronization
  • Interferometric Sensors and Instruments
  • Coherent Communication Systems
  • Reconfigurable Switching, Buffering, and Processing


Thorlabs' ODL220-FS(/M) Free-Space Optical Delay Line Kit offers customers a tested set of Thorlabs components to build an optical delay line. The kit is based on our DDS220 long-travel, low-profile direct drive stage, capable of tuning the optical delay up to 1466 ps. Delay shifts down to 0.67 fs are achievable, and the timing repeatability is ±1.67 fs. The high accuracy and long-term stability of the stage make this system a suitable choice for pump-probe spectroscopy, THz spectroscopy, interferometry, and related applications.

The direct-drive technology used in this delay line kit eliminates the need for a lead screw, which enables backlash-free operation. The absolute position of the stage is determined using a high-resolution, closed-loop optical feedback signal that provides bidirectional repeatability of 0.25 µm (timing repeatability of ±1.67 fs). The stage also features twin, precision-grooved linear bearings that provide superior linearity and on-axis accuracy, which makes the stage an ideal choice for a delay line setup.

In addition, the stage in this kit can be driven at speeds of up to 300 mm/s, making this kit well suited for studying experimental phenomena in a single-shot scanning mode. High-speed scans can also be used to minimize the effects of slow changes in a system (such as thermal drifts) on experimental data.

Optical Alignment
The optical delay line kit includes an RS99 Periscope Assembly that can accommodate input beam heights from 2.4" to 6" (60 mm to 152 mm). By purchasing additional Ø1" (Ø25 mm) Pillar Posts, the input beam height that can be accommodated is easily increased. The periscope's input and output mirrors are easily rotated through a full 360° using the included handles. The first POLARIS-K1™ Low-Drift Kinematic Mirror Mount is used to align the beam parallel to the translation axis of the DDS220 stage. The stage's V-block contains two kinematic mirror mounts and two irises for beam alignment. The iris mounts are based on our FiberBench mounts, and many of our FiberBench accessories may be used in place of the irises. Finally, a second POLARIS-K1 mount is then used to steer the output beam. The optical path is shown in the figure below.

Six Ø1" protected silver mirrors, which provide an average reflectivity in excess of 96% over the entire 450 nm to 2 µm range, are included. If your application would benefit from gold, aluminum, broadband dielectric, dielectric laser line, or ultrafast mirrors, please contact Technical Support to discuss the various options.

Please note that when no power is applied, the platform of the stage is free to move. This allows the user to easily align the beam when power is off but may make the kit unsuitable for applications where the stage needs to remain in place when power is lost.

Thorlabs also manufactures the ODL100-FS Optical Delay Line Kit, which offers a total range of 666.6 ps, for applications requiring a faster maximum translation speed.



Optical Delay Specifications

Maximum Optical Delay 1466 ps
Delay Sensitivity* 0.67 fs
Input Beam Height 2.4" - 6" (60 mm - 152 mm)
Output Beam Height 2.4" (60 mm)

*Based on minimum incremental motion of the stage.


Key Specifications of DDS220 Stage


Travel Range 220 mm (8.6")
Speed (Max) 300 mm/s
Acceleration (Max) 5000 mm/s2
Bidirectional Repeatability ±0.25 µm
Backlash* N/A
Incremental Movement (Min) 0.1 µm
Absolute On-Axis Accuracy ±2.0 µm
Home Location Accuracy (Unidirectional) ±0.25 µm
Bearing Type Precision Linear Bearing
Motor Type Brushless DC Linear Motor
Dimensions 370 mm x 90 mm x 45 mm
(14.6" x 3.5" x 1.77")

*The stage does not exhibit backlash since it does not utilize a lead screw.


Key Specifications of BBD201 Controller


Control Algorithm 16-Bit Digital PID Servo Loop with Velocity and Acceleration Feedforward
Velocity Profile Trapezoidal/S-Curve
Position Feedback Incremental Encoder
Encoder Bandwidth 2.5 MHz (10 M Counts/s)
Input Power Requirements 250 VA
Voltage: 85 to 264 VAC
Frequency: 47 to 63 Hz
Fuse: 3.15 A
Dimensions 174 mm x 245 mm x 126 mm
(6.85" x 9.65" x 4.96")




Custom GUI Software for Optical Delay Control

Thorlabs' ODL220-FS and ODL100-FS Optical Delay Line Kits share a common user interface to control timing changes of the stage. With this software, it is possible to precisely choose the optical delay you wish to add or subtract from your beam path. For interferometry experiments, the option to scan the stage continuously or in discrete steps is available, with each step's position being held for a specific time period.

The kit also includes the aptTM software package for computer control of the stage. The apt software also allows for advanced custom control applications and sequences in various programming languages through ActiveX.


Our Mission is to accelerate the advancement of optical technology for precision measurements and their applications from the table tops of research laboratories to standard use in communication and high technology industries. Our aim is to serve our customers. Our hope is to create a place for highly skilled people in an open environment

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