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Optics & Photonics — Ultrasensitive Instrument Design — Analog Electronics

Lab Equipment List

Here's a partial list of EOI's lab equipment. The list is heavily weighted towards electronic stuff, but we also have a very complete set of high precision optical and optomechanical parts: mounts, translation and rotation stages, lenses, prisms, polarization optics, gratings, filters, modulators, detectors, lasers, and fibres, for a start. This lets us try out new ideas quickly and build test setups to verify them.

If you're also a fan of classical equipment, you can download manuals at Agilent and Tektronix, liberatedmanuals.com, BAMA, Kurt's Manuals, To-Way.com, ElektroTanya.com, and K04BB. KE5FX's GPIB Tools are pretty serviceable and also free.
Send me an email and let's talk about your application.

Dr. Philip C. D. Hobbs, Principal

Last updated June 23, 2017.

ElectroOptical Innovations LLC, 160 North State Road, Suite 203, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510 (914) 236-3005

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Electronic Gear


Tektronix TDS694C Digital Scope
     125 ps rise time, 3 GHz BW, 10 Gs/s simultaneously on all 4 channels, colour LCD
             13:  RS232 and Centronics printer
             1M: 120k points/channel
             1F: Internal 1.44M floppy drive
             2F: Advanced DSP math
             HD: Internal hard disk drive
     A true beauty. 50 Ω DC-coupled only, of course, but then I have
     the matching P6249 FET probes for that.

Tektronix TDS784A Digital Scope
     1 GHz 4Gs/s, 4 channels, colour LCD over monochrome CRT
     About the fastest scope that still has a 1 MΩ input option. The display is a bit dim,
     but it works great. (Thanks to Jay at TestPlus for help with the conversion from 744A to 784A.)

HP 54542C 4 Channel 500MHz 2 GSa/s Color Digital Scope
     HP scopes have much better knob response than Teks of the same vintage. This is the
     first HP scope I've ever owned. It was less than half the price of my workhorse Tektronix
     TDS 744A, and overall it seems to work fine. One wart is that it doesn't automatically
     sense when you're using a ×10 probe.

Tektronix 11802 20 GHz Sampling Scope
     Sampling scopes are stroboscopic; you get one data point per trigger event so
     that it takes 512 triggers to get a full trace. On the other hand, a digitizing
     scope this fast (50 Gs/s) would cost as much as a house on a lake. This one is
     nearly pristine; it's my primary tool for really fast measurements and for things
     like settling time, where stroboscopic sampling prevents overdriving the
     scope's vertical amplifier and causing artifacts. Takes two 2-channel plug-ins
      and has two built-in semi-rigid coax delay lines.

Tektronix 11801C 50 GHz Sampling Scope
     More of a workhorse—21k hours, but still nice and bright. The 11801C
     doesn't have the built-in delay lines, but can take up to four 2-channel
     plug-ins. (The 50 vs 20 GHz doesn't matter much—I don't have the 30- or
     50-GHz plug-ins, but a 20 GHz scope is enough to be getting on with.) Since I
     rely on the 11802 so heavily, it makes sense to have a spare.

Tektronix 11800 Series Sampling Heads
     SD-14 3 GHz Dual Probe Head #1 (new)
     SD-14 3 GHz Dual Probe Head #2
     SD-14 3 GHz Dual Probe Head #3
     SD-14 3 GHz Dual Probe Head #4 (B channel mildly broken)
     These are 120-ps rise time sampling heads with built-in high-impedance FET probes on 1-m

     SD-22 12.5 GHz Dual Low Noise Head #1
     SD-22 12.5 GHz Dual Low Noise Head #2
     SD-22 12.5 GHz Dual Low Noise Head #3
     Usually I don't need the full speed of the SD-24 and SD-26, so the lower noise
     level is a win

     SD-26 20 GHz Dual Sampling Head #1
     SD-26 20 GHz Dual Sampling Head #2
     These and the SD-24s below have beautiful clean 17-ps rise times with almost no
     overshoot or ripple.

     SD-24 20 GHz Dual TDR Head #1
     SD-24 20 GHz Dual TDR Head #2
     SD-24 20 GHz Dual TDR Head #3
     SD-24 20 GHz Dual TDR Head #4
     My favourite head of all; produces a 17-ps rise time pulse for TDR measurements,
     which is also widely useful as an ultrafast pulse generator for driving lasers
     and testing circuits.

     SD-51 20 GHz Trigger Head
     One of the less convenient featurs of sampling scopes is that they don't really
     have internal triggering. Their front end amplifiers are hidden behind sampling
     bridges, so they aren't able to watch the signal change except stroboscopically,
     i.e. after triggering occurs. This head helps with that at high
     frequencies (in the gigahertz) but not so much lower down.

     Tektronix SD-20 Loop-Through Sampling Head
     Besides triggering, another inconvenient thing about sampling scopes is that we
     frequently want to measure the effect of some amplifier or other device, by
     measuring its input and output and comparing them. At low speeds this is
     easy—often we just use a tee connector on the scope, to connect one cable
     to both the scope and the input of the device under test (DUT). Unfortunately
     this doesn't work at high frequencies due to transmission line reflections. For
     narrow-band measurements we can use special splitters or couplers, but they
     generally don't work down to DC, and most aren't really intended for fast pulses.

     The SD-20 is a good solution to this problem: the input signal passes through
     the SD-20 on its way to the DUT, and the DUT's output goes to another sampling
     head such as an SD-26.

     SD-48 30 GHz O-E Converter
     The SD-4x plugins are InGaAs devices that work from about 800 to 1600 nm.
     The fastest ones (SD-48) go up to 30 GHz, but they're scarce and expensive.
     Fortunately I found one on eBay for a steal.
     SD-46 20 GHz O-E Converter
     This one is the older, 20 GHz version of the fast photodiode boxes. It was an even better buy than the SD-48.

     SD-42 6.4 GHz O-E Converter #1
     SD-42 6.4 GHz O-E Converter #2
     These ones go for a lot less, and realistically are fast enough for most of what I'm likely to do.

     Tektronix 067-1331-00 Sampling Head Simulator
     This is a calibration fixture that mimics an SD-24 head with a pulse source attached,
     for testing and aligning the 1180x sampling scope mainframes. Just one of those nice-to-haves.

     012-1221-00 2m Sampling Head Extender #1
     012-1221-00 2m Sampling Head Extender #2
     Fast signals attenuate so rapidly in cables that you really have to bring the
     head to the circuit. Using these cables means you don't have to hang your gizmo
     off the front of the scope, but instead bring the sampling head onto the bench.
     These 2m ones are great for when the scope is in the rack.

Tektronix 475A Analog Scope
     150 MHz, great triggering, no aliasing, very low noise (2 mV/div)

Tektronix 2467 Analog Scope
     350 MHz, 4 channels. Ultra-bright microchannel plate CRT: fastest writing
     speed of any portable scope ever

Owon SDS7102V 100 MHz 1 Gs/s 2-Channel Digitizing Scope
     Cheap 'N' Cheerful Chinese.
     Pluses: A very nice display, Ethernet and USB connectivity, USB storage, 10 megasample data
     length, low price for a new scope (although I paid the same for a 4-channel, 500 MHz HP from eBay).
     Minuses: Very slow screen updates (~20 Hz), and a bit noisy on its most sensitive range.
     It forces you into the 20 MHz bandwidth limit mode in order to get to 2 mV/div.
     Some firmware issues.

Active Scope Probes

Tektronix P6249 4 GHz 5x FET Probe #1
Tektronix P6249 4 GHz 5x FET Probe #2
     The matching probes for the TDS 694C. Normally a bit on the pricy side, but
     these were quite reasonable—in future I may wind up making my own with
     some cascoded pHEMTs. (One of these guys is on the sick list—its bias loop is
     oscillating at 2 MHz or so. Probably a dead capacitor.)

Tektronix P6201 FET Probe #1
Tektronix P6201 FET Probe #2
Tektronix P6201 FET Probe #3
Tektronix P6201 FET probe #4
     900 MHz, AC and DC coupling, ×1, ×10, ×100
     All probes have probe hooks, ground springs and ground leads. One of these
     days I'll get round to doing one of these using a pHEMT cascode, and not have
     to buy these slow ones. They're pretty good for most things, of course.

Tektronix P6042 50 MHz Current Probe
     Hall effect plus inductive pickup for fast DC-coupled current
     measurements. Unsurpassed for looking at transients in switchmode
     power supplies, magnets, and so on.

Semiconductor Measurement Tools

Hewlett-Packard 4145B semiconductor parameter analyzer and spare disk drives
     These boot from the floppy drive, and that's the only thing that ever seems to
     break. (Of course it has a proprietary interface.)

Spectrum and Network Analyzers

     Most of these are connected to the lab's 10 MHz rubidium reference
     distribution system.

HP 70004A/70820A Microwave Transition Analyzer & Display (DC → 40GHz)
     One of HP's best instruments ever: a combination network analyzer,
     sampling scope, and spectrum analyzer running from DC to millimeter waves.
     It's based on a dual-channel picosecond sampling system that works from
     DC to 40 GHz. These are outrageously cheap at the moment, considering what they do,
     although they do need precision 2.4 mm connectors, which are not cheap.

Hewlett-Packard 8568B Spectrum Analyzer, 100 Hz → 1.5 GHz
     A real boat anchor, but it has -110 dBc phase noise at 100 Hz offset,
     which is 30 dB better than you can get in affordable modern analyzers

Hewlett-Packard 8566B Spectrum Analyzer, 100 Hz → 22 GHz
     The 8568's big brother. I've been getting into much faster measurements
     recently, especially with the Mach 9 ISICL sensor, which generates Doppler
     signals up to about 8 GHz. The 1.8 GHz HP 8568B is too slow, so I got one
     of these. This one was very very cheap, and has a much brighter display than
     the 8568B. It arrived with a problem: the display text was all torn and garbled.
     I happened to have a spare A4A3 memory board, so I swapped it in on spec, and it
     fixed the problem. (Score one for pack rats.)

     The one real drawback of the 8566 is that the RF (0 → 2.5 GHz) and microwave
     bands can't be displayed at the same time. In most cases this is more an æsthetic
     than a practical issue. In the microwave band (above 2 GHz) the noise baseline is a
     little funky-looking, with ~1-dB ripples, so it probably needs calibration fairly
     urgently before I do any quantitiative measurements with it.

Hewlett-Packard 35665A dynamic signal analyzer
     Options 1C1 Add 2MB memory
     1C2 HP instrument BASIC
     1D1 Real time octave measurements
     1D2 Swept-Sine measurements
     1D3 Curve fit/synthesis
     1D4 Arbitrary function source
     1F0 PC-style keyboard
     All-Option ROM for HP 35665A (glkinst.com)
     About the best of the classical FFT analyzers, with all the functions needed for
     optimizing control loops. A factor of 100 or so more bandwidth would be nice.

Frequency Counters and Modulation Domain Analyzers

Hewlett-Packard 5372A Frequency and Time Interval Analyzer
     Option 040: Jitter FFT
     The original "modulation domain" device: plots Allan variance, jitter
     histograms, jitter spectra, frequency vs. time, and so on. A beautiful
     thing for laser heterodyne stability measurements, moderate bandwidth
     phase-locked loops, and so on. It's a bit of a pain to set up, though, so it
     doesn't get used as much as it might.

Hewlett-Packard 5316B 100 MHz Universal Counter
     Simple and reliable.

EIP 535C Microwave Counter
     A plain-vanilla 18-GHz counter. One of the slightly newer ones that can supply
     frequency locking to a sweeper would be useful.

Signal Sources / Time & Frequency Generators

Hewlett-Packard 8640B ultraquiet phaselocked generator
     Recently repaired by Bill Dino at Electronics Revisited in Massachusetts—he more or less jacked
     up the name plate and slid a new synthesizer in underneath: A great outfit!

PTS1000 1 Hz → 1 GHz synthesizer
     Decent phase noise (-110 dBc/Hz @ 1 kHz offset), fast tuning, 100-dB attenuation range.

Hewlett-Packard 3325A Frequency Synthesizer #1
Hewlett-Packard 3325A Frequency Synthesizer #2
     Opt 01: High Stability OCXO
     A nice stable high resolution synthesizer with extreme amplitude accuracy.
     and free of the usual weird spurs that plague DDS-type units. Only goes to 20 MHz.

Systron-Donner Datapulse 101 pulser #1
Systron-Donner Datapulse 101 pulser #2
     One of the best of the old-line analog pulsers: stable and easy to use.

Highland Technology P400 Digital delay generator
     No chains of monostables for sequencing in this lab, thanks—4 triggered
     delay outputs with 20-ps jitter, about 20 dB better than the competition.

Wavetek 145 20 MHz Pulse/Function Generator
     Not brilliant, but good for simple jobs where analog controls are convenient.

Hewlett-Packard 8620C Microwave Sweeper Mainframe #1
with HP 86222B 0.01 → 2.4 GHz Plug-In
Hewlett-Packard 8620C Microwave Sweeper Mainframe #2
with HP 86290C 2 → 18 GHz Plug-in
     Microwave sweepers aren't the quietest things in captivity, but they produce a lot of output power (>=50 mW), and
     they're great for low-resolution swept measurements. These ones accept source locking from a counter than can provide
     it. The higher frequency one is for driving diode lasers for testing the Hypervelocity ISICL.

Other RF gear

Texscan RA-50 Rotary step attenuator, 0-10 dB
     DC → 2 GHz
Texscan RA-100 Rotary step attenuator, 0-100 dB
     DC → 2 GHz
Hewlett-Packard step attenuator 0-120 dB, 1 GHz, BNC
Hewlett-Packard step attenuator 0-11 dB, 1 GHz, BNC
HP 33321H Rotary 0-70 dB step atten 18GHz
Drawers full of Mini Circuits, TTE, and other RF/microwave parts
     Amps, attenuators, filters, mixers, splitters, directional couplers, phase
     detectors, switches,....

Specialized Meters

Hewlett-Packard 400EL AC Voltmeter (10 MHz)

Hewlett-Packard 3400A True RMS AC voltmeter #1
Hewlett-Packard 3403A True RMS Voltmeter #1 (100 MHz)
Hewlett-Packard 3403A True RMS Voltmeter #2 (100 MHz)
     In the ultrasensitive measurements business, you have to be able to make really reliable noise and SNR measurements.
     A good photon budget will predict the noise in a good measurement very accurately, but you have to be able to verify it.

     The 3400A and 3403A are HP's finest AC meters, with accuracies of a percent or two and a crest factor of 10.
     I use these a lot for noise measurements, in conjunction with passive filters: RCs for simple situations
     and fancier ones from TTE otherwise. That's the most reliable method: A known noise bandwidth and a true-RMS meter.
     Spectrum analyzers read noise as much as 2.5 dB too low, due to doing average detection and
     log video averaging, so fast RMS converters are key. (For the reasons behind this, there's a
     classic HP/Agilent app note AN150.)
     Peak-reading voltmeters such as the HP 400EL have a less pronounced version of this problem—you
     add 1 dB when measuring noise. (It's really 10 log(4/π) = 1.049 dB.)
     The problem arises when you're measuring low-SNR signals, because those hacks no longer
     work—there's no substitute for true-RMS detection then.

Boonton 72A Capacitance Meter
     Analog, but very sensitive, stable and easy to use. Accepts an externally
     controlled bias for C-V measurements, and analog I/O works well with data
     acq hardware.

Boonton 72BD Capacitance Meter #1
Boonton 72BD Capacitance Meter #2 (100 mV excitation, needs contact cleaning)
     A 3-1/2 digit version of the 72A above. Very stable: on the 2 pF FS range,
     once it's zeroed it sits there showing 0.000 pF all afternoon. Wave a hand
     nearby and see the reading increase to a few femtofarads. These Boontons use
     low-level (15 mV) 1-MHz AC excitation with phase-sensitive detection, do 2-, 3-
     or 4-terminal measurements, and allow external DC bias to be applied. That
     makes them ideal for measurements on active devices; you can even measure the
     capacitance to ground of a bootstrapped front end.
     So useful that it makes sense to have at least two.

Smart Tweezers STAD-KBHP LCR meter
Especially helpful for measuring unmarked SMD components; also unusually good
     for doing in-circuit measurements.

     This was actually the first kit I ever built—in 2015!
     It does a very good job of measuring capacitors and inductors for RF circuits.
     It seems to be generally better than the Smart Tweezers in that range, though not
     so general. (You can't get one anymore, owing to the untimely death of its inventor, Neil Hecht.)

Analog Multimeters

AVO Universal Avometer Model 8 Mk IV
     AVO made the best analog multimeters ever, and the Model 8 Mk IV was really the best
     of the lot. This one came from the estate of a man who collected
     Rolls-Royce cars as well. No trace of stickiness in the meter movement.

AVO Universal Avometer Model 16
     More modern looking but not in the same class at all. It's almost like a
     barometer—you have to thump it to get the meter to settle properly.

Simpson Model 260 Series 3 Analog Multimeter
     Almost as nice as the older AVO, but not quite.

Simpson Model 303 VTVM   #1
Simpson Model 303 VTVM   #2
     Mostly for nostalgia, but sometimes still useful for looking at slow voltage
     changes in high-Z circuits; really nice meter movements

Keithley 410 Micro-Microammeter
     This has a 100 fA full scale range. It uses tubes, and takes a good two hours
     of warm-up to get down that low, but then it's been sitting on some shelf for fifty years.
     Instruments have come a long way in performance since 1964, but have lost character doing it.
     I built a little box with CMOS op amps and Russian 33G vacuum resistors in it
     that does more or less the same thing, only better, and works right when you
     turn it on—but where's the fun in that?

Keithley 610C Solid State Electrometer
     Solid state from '68. A beautiful instrument with a nice meter movement. This one was super cheap, so
     it'll probably need a bit of repair, but it's well worth it. Its most sensitive ranges are
     1 mV, 10 fA, 100 TΩ, 100 fC full scale.

Keithley 602 Solid State Electrometer
     Solid state, runs off six 9-volt batteries. It's about as sensitive as the old tube one, but it wants
     an unobtainable 1.34 V mercury battery for the ohms ranges. It's waiting for a
     brain transplant—I'm going to use the meter and switch and give it new electronics,
     probably based on a 100-pF charge dispensing loop. Or maybe I'll hang onto it for 610C parts.

Hewlett-Packard 339A Audio Distortion Meter
     The best of a long series of total harmonic distortion (THD) bridges.
     It has a very low distortion sine wave oscillator to drive the device under test (DUT).
     The DUT's output goes into a notch filter that gets rid of the fundamental,
     and the meter displays the amplitude of this distortion-plus-noise signal divided
     by the fundamental amplitude. To DSP folks, this is actually not THD but SINAD
     (Signal to Noise And Distortion), but that's how THD has always been defined in
     the audio business.

Measurements (later Boonton) Model 59 'Megacycle Meter' #1
Measurements (later Boonton) Model 59 'Megacycle Meter' #2
Measurements (later Boonton) Model 59 'Megacycle Meter' UHF Head
     The classical grid dip meter. A dip meter's job is to find LC resonances. It's a bit specialized,
     but very useful in hacking together RF circuitry quickly. Usually the resonant frequencies of
     the individual sections make more difference to a filter's response than the exact L and C
     values, and that's what dip meters are good for. The way they work is pretty interesting.
     There's a variable-frequency LC oscillator in the meter, whose tuning knob has a reasonably
     accurate frequency scale. A resonator such as a parallel LC circuit will absorb energy near its
     resonant frequency. If the dip meter's coil is placed so that it couples to the unknown LC circuit,
     the unknown will absorb oscillator power when the oscillator is tuned to its resonance. This will reduce
     the strength of the oscillation, which is easily detected. Classically, and in the Measurements 59, it's
     done by measuring the DC grid current of the oscillator tube, but nowadays there are lots of other methods.

     A less obvious use is in measuring the coupling coefficients of transformers: a secondary winding that's 10 mH
     open circuit can drop down into the low microhenries when the primary is shorted. A dip meter is good at
     measuring low-Q resonances, so with a nanofarad or two in parallel, you can get a decent measurement
     of the leakage inductance. I recently measured an ISDN transformer's coefficient of coupling at 0.99986 this way.

     The Measurements 59 gives a nice sharp dip even for very weak inductive coupling—much better than any later
     dip meter I've used. That means that it hardly perturbs the circuit under test at all.      I have two meter units and three RF heads: two VHF and one UHF. The frequency
     calibration of my main VHF one is still excellent: within 2% of reading over the whole 2.2-250 MHz range, though I haven't measured the others.
     This illustrates one of my old opinions: in situations where both approaches apply, a smart engineer, even working with very limited
     technology (vacuum tubes, hand calculation, and mechanical everything) can run rings around a less-smart engineer
     with SPICE and all sorts of great modern parts.

Digital Multimeters

Hewlett-Packard 3456A 6.5 digit DMM #1
     Good to ~1 ppm (relative) over a really wide range of voltage and resistance
     measurements. (It's 25 ppm ± 2 digits absolute on all DC voltage ranges.)
     Its big brother, the HP 3458A 8.5-digit DMM, remains the standard in cal
     labs everywhere.

Fluke 87 Handheld True RMS DMM
     The standard for 25 years—which is about how long I've had this one.
     It has the separate rubber holster and the flexible tilting bail that you can
     wrap around stuff to hold the meter in odd places. The more recent versions
     have better input protection but come with a much cheesier hard plastic bail.

Tektronix DMM916 Handheld True RMS DMM #1
Tektronix DMM916 Handheld True RMS DMM #2
     Roughly in the same class as the Fluke, which is saying a lot. These ones
     came from eBay in 2014/15, and they work great.

Tektronix TX3 Handheld True RMS DMM
     Another nice meter, but this example isn't very accurate, unfortunately—it reads 0.18% high.

BK Precision 2809B 6600 count True RMS DMM
     A very nice midrange digital multimeter with a really fast continuity beep, which
     makes it an excellent kick-around bench meter.

Keithley 191 5.5 digit DVM #1
Keithley 191 5.5 digit DVM #2 with AC board
     Older mains-powered DVMs with excellent DC accuracy (70 ppm ± 2 LSB), but no current ranges.
Keithley 177 4.5 digit Microvolt DVM
     Another mains-powered meter with full scale ranges of 20 ohms, 20 mV, 20 uA, with 0.03% basic accuracy.

Multimeter Accessories

Probemaster Series 8000 DMM Probes
      These things are the most beautiful DMM probes I've ever seen, and they're only $16 per set.
     Thick gold plating, very sharp points, lovely supple silicone-insulated wires,
     easy to hold, 1 kV CAT III rated. They also sell a bunch of accessories, some of which I also have.
     Try these out and you'll toss all your others into the back of some drawer and never use them again.

Data Acquisition & Control

LabJack U6 Pro Data Acq Bricks #1, #2, and #3
     A very capable and well-supported ADC/DAC module that also has six PWMs and 20 digital
     I/Os. They work great, and are an excellent value, though their DACs are PWM-based, so you may
     have to use an external SPI DAC. There's also a good library for writing my own code.
     [I am Not A Fan of graphical toolkits like LabView—as a colleague says,
     "Ah, LabView: spaghetti code that even looks like spaghetti."]
     On the other hand, LabJacks are brilliant, and I use them all the time; for instance, in Spring 2013,
     I built a low cost grating SWIR spectrometer proof-of-concept for a medical devices client.
     It was doing data acq, servomotor control, and temperature control.
     In 2015, I'm using one to control a laser scanning microscope operating at a numerical aperture of 5.0.

Power Supplies

     Many of the gizmos I build myself have switching power supplies built in, usually based
     on the National Semiconductor (now TI) LM259x 150 kHz Simple Switchers. They aren't
     the very most efficient things you'll find, but they work painlessly and don't
     produce much in the way of EMI on account of their slow switching edges, especially with
     toroidal inductors. I tend to power them from random laptop bricks, so I don't need
     as many lab power supplies as I used to.

MIT PMT-2000 HV Power Supply for photomultipliers

Power Designs TP343A triple DC power supply
Power Designs TP325 triple DC power supply
Kepco MPS 620M triple DC power supply
Kepco ATE 150-1.5M 150V 1.5A power supply
     My standard bench supplies. Reasonably beefy, quiet, bulletproof, and well-behaved.

Kepco BOP50-2M Operational Power Supply
     Kepco BOPs are like op amps, if you think a 98-pound weakling is like the Incredible
     Hulk. This ±50 V, ±2 A unit is one of the baby 100 W ones—they come up to 400 W
     (e.g. ±72 V, ±6 A.) They work in all four quadrants, which is both useful and rare.

Kepco JQE 36-3 36V 3A power supply
     A slightly stronger adjustable linear supply, nice and quiet

Tektronix 1103 Tekprobe Power Supply
     Tek has a nice method for powering probes, using PCB pads arranged around the BNC
     connector. This is especially useful because it allows me to use the 4 GHz
     P6249 FET probes with spectrum analyzers.

Tektronix 1101 probe power supply (±15 V for the P6201s)

Hewlett-Packard 6112A Precision 0-40 V, 0.6 A DC power supply
Hewlett-Packard Harrison 6111A Precision 0-20V, 1.0 A DC power supply
Hewlett-Packard 6116A Precision 0-100V DC power supply
Hewlett-Packard 6110A Precision 0-3kV 6 mA DC power supply
     These have 4-digit thumbwheel switches, and are dead accurate, except for the 6110A which needs calibration.

Burleigh RC-44 Ramp Generator
     Generates voltage ramps for three piezos of an RC-110 or RC-140 Fabry-Perot, for
     scanning, intracavity measurements, and moderate-accuracy wavelength locking.
Burleigh RC-43 Ramp Generator
     Earlier, noisier version, kept as a spare.

Amplifiers and Signal Conditioning

Highland Technology J750 Amplifier
Highland Technology T860 Buffer/Driver
     Highland stuff is all clean, fast, and strong.

Hewlett-Packard 08640-60506 Low Noise Amplifier 20 Hz - 10 MHz

EG&G PAR 5208 2-channel lock-in amplifier

Krohn-Hite 3905B 10-Ch Filter Mainframe
     with plug-ins Model 39A-5, 34 and 35.
     A really capable, digitally programmable filtersystem for all sorts of baseband jobs where the
      usual RC in a Pomona box won't cut it.

Krohn-Hite 3103A Bandpass Filter 10 Hz to 3 MHz
     A dedicated BPF box. Lots of ganged pots and wafer switches.

Standards and Decade Boxes

General Radio 1434-G Resistor Decade Box
     0-1 MΩ, 0.1 Ω steps

Efratom LPRO-101 Rubidium Frequency Standard
     Distributed via a Mini-Circuits 12-way splitter and cables

Interfacing and Control

Advin Pilot U40 programmer
     For PALs and retro stuff like that, plus making backups of instrument ROMs

Prologix GPIB-Ethernet module
     Very fast and trouble-free; gives your GPIB stuff an IP address.

Piles of MCU development tools, Sparkfun boards, Raspberry Pi's, custom data acquisition hardware,
     small instruments in die-cast Bud boxes, and so on.


Supermicro 733TQ tower #1
      150 Gflops peak, very high main memory bandwidth
     Supermicro H8DGi-F mobo
     Dual AMD Opteron 6128 Magny-Cours 8-core processors,
     32 GB of DDR3 ECC RAM,
     4 × 1 TB HDDs
     Adaptec 6405 RAID controller board
     XFX HD667XZHF3 ATI Radeon HD6670 1 GB video card
     CentOS 6 Linux, with Win 7 Pro 64 bit and
     Win XP 32-bit in Qemu/KVM virtual machines
     27-inch Dell LED/LCD monitor
     A pretty nice box all round. I bought it for doing electromagnetic simulations, but it's also
     my main office machine. After 2-1/2 years running continuously, the power supply started to hiccup,
     which made the machine cold-boot every 10 minutes or so, but a new supply cured it.
     One of these times I'll put SSDs in it, but not today.

Supermicro 733TQ tower #2
     250 Gflops peak, put together from eBay parts plus a new case and PSU
     Supermicro H8DGi-F mobo
     Dual AMD Opteron 6174 Magny-Cours 12-core processors,
     56 GB of DDR3 ECC RAM,
     500 GB SSD
     Qubes OS v3.2
     27-inch ASUS LED/LCD monitor
     For running simulations and general workstation use.

ASUS i7 Quad Core Tower box
     8 GB fast RAM
     Win 7 Pro
     27-inch Dell LED/LCD monitor
     Mostly for my PC layout person, Magdalen Hobbs

Synology DS411slim NAS #1
     A pretty nice network-attached storage (NAS) box that runs Linux and allows you to
     install normal Linux packages. Synology has their own version of RAID that seems to work
     better than the normal kind. This is configured with four HGST Travelstar 5K1500 1.5 TB
     2.5 inch drives, three in a RAID array and one hot spare. One out of eight drives failed
     in less than a week, but the others have been running flawlessly for a year now.
     It's set up to send me email if one of the drives fails a S.M.A.R.T. test, so I knew
     about the drive failure very quickly.

Synology DS411slim NAS #2 (offsite)
     This one has the same configuration—why mess with success?

About 10 Thinkpad T42, T43, & T410 laptops for various jobs

Optics and Lasers

Visible Lasers

Coherent Compass 532 Frequency-Doubled Nd:YAG Ring Laser
     A beautiful thing, with a coherence length > 150 m. I bought it for testing
     the new 10 MHz laser noise canceller design. I'll push the beam through a
     Pockels cell and a single mode fibre to make it really single-transverse-mode,
     then use free-space optics to split it into three adjustable-strength beams
     with exactly the same modulation and spatial structure.

Uniphase 1137P He-Ne #1 632.8 nm, 20 mW, 2.3 kV@6.0 mA
Uniphase 1137P He-Ne #2
Uniphase 1137P He-Ne #3

Melles Griot LGR192 2 mW green He-Ne (randomly polarized unfortunately)
(Plus a bunch of visible diode lasers)

Infrared Lasers

JDSU NPRO 126N-1064 700 mW 1064-nm Nonplanar Ring Oscillator (NPRO) Nd:YAG laser
     Single frequency YAGs are beautiful devices. I do a fair amount of stuff in the NIR
     and SWIR, so having a selection of IR lasers is pretty important.

Infrared Diode Lasers

SDL 5420 830 nm 150 mW Diode Laser #1
SDL 5420 830 nm 150 mW Diode Laser #2
SDL 5420 830 nm 150 mW Diode Laser #3
     All single frequency, TE cooled, with collimators and circular output beams

1540 nm Fabry-Perot Diode Laser
     15 mW, pulsed with 190 ps rise time

Optical Test Equipment


Vision Engineering Mantis binocular microscope
     4× & 8× objectives

Mitutoyo FS110 Long Working Distance Microscope
     I often use Mitutoyo microscope lenses in optical setups, and missed having
     the microscope to go with them. Mitus are workhorses, and the optical quality is outstanding.
     This one has 5×, 10×, 20×, and 50× objectives and 10× eyepieces, plus a camera port.

Newport Fibre Microscope
     For inspecting fibre facets before use

Beam Diagnostics

Blue Sky Model 200 Collimeter #1
Blue Sky Model 200 Collimeter #2
     Dithered shear plate collimation testers—indispensable. It would be great to have a real wavefront-
     wavefront-measuring interferometer. I used to have an old Wyko Ladite, which was a thing of great
     beauty, but had to be put out to pasture because it couldn't communicate with any modern hardware.

Burleigh WA-20-Vis Wavemeter
     Michelson interferometer wavemeter, 0.35-1.0 μm with vacuum chamber

Burleigh RC-110 Fabry-Perot Interferometer
     with mirrors for the red; really great for passive-cavity measurements
Photon Beam Scan 1080
     A scanning slit instrument for measuring beam diameters. Much faster than either then chopper-wheel
     or razor blade + translation stage methods.

Spectrometers and Monochromators

Ocean Optics 2000+ UV-VIS-NIR Spectrometer
     350-1050 nm coverage, 2048 pixels, about 1.5 nm resolution. Primarily for the
     egg-grading sensor, but will also have applications in future blood constituents work.

Optometrics SWIR Monochromator
     A nice small Czerny-Turner monochromator with a 1400-2800 nm range and two sets of slits.

Detectors and Cameras

Thor Labs 7 GHz photoreceiver
     Only slightly faster than the Tek SD-42 plug-ins, but small and battery powered

Electrophysics 7215 700-1300 nm IR viewer
     Handheld IR viewer. Useful alternative to a CCD camera and monitor.
Electrophysics 6100 700-1300 nm IR viewing goggles
     Head-mounted IR viewer: easier to manage while doing alignment, but blind past
     1.3 μm

Electrophysics 7290 IR Camera with 50-mm f / 1.4 Lens
     A lead-salt vidicon, covering 0.6-2.2 μm: Big and clunky, so it's conveniently
     mounted on a Manfrotto Magic Arm for hands-free use.
     Needs a bit of adjustment because the display contrast is sort of low at the moment

A bunch of Toshiba RS-170 CCD cameras
     These are good out to 1064 nm, and are a lot more convenient.
Test Monitor NTSC 3.5"TFT
     For use with the Electrophysics and Toshiba cameras.

Optical Components and Optomechanics


Hundreds of single- and multi-element lenses, with coatings for UV to 1.6 μm

Dozens of cylinder lenses and astigmatism correction optics

Mirrors and Prisms

More than 100 first-surface mirrors:
     ordinary folding mirrors with dielectric stack, enhanced aluminum, protected gold
     coatings, in λ/10 and λ/20; also a lot of interferometer mirrors, laser output couplers and HRs.

Folding and Dispersing Prisms
     Dove, Porro, equilateral, wedge, penta

Polarization Optics

Wollaston prisms: About a dozen, in 12-mm and 25-mm apertures

Glan-Taylor and beamsplitting Glan-Thompson prisms: Several

Polarizing cube beamsplitters: About 20, 400 nm - 1.6 μm

Beam separator prisms: PBS laminated with a λ/4 retarder, 633 & 750 nm; about a dozen

Waveplates for 532 nm, 633 nm, 750-840 nm, and 1.5 μm; lots

Film polarizers, thin-film waveplates,....


Holographic and replicated ruled gratings
     various lines/mm and blaze wavelengths, UV/Visible/SWIR: about 40


Schott Glass (Coloured) Filters
     About 50, UV to SWIR

Interference Filters
     UV, 532 nm, 633 nm, 750-840 nm, 1500 nm

Neutral Density Filters
     Two sets of 50-mm metal ND filters plus a bunch of black glass ones

Fibre Stuff
     A dozen or so SM and MM patch cords, fibre on reels, FC connectors and polishing
     stuff, collimators and so forth. Both glass and plastic.

Electro-Optic and Acousto-Optic Devices

Crystal Technology 2405-01 Acousto-Optic Tunable Filter (AOTF)
     SWIR: tunes 1.4-2.45 μm with 3 W of 52.5-95 MHz drive
     80% efficient and 3.5 nm resolution at the short end, 45% and 10 nm at the long end
     optical acceptance ±3°

Matsushita (Panasonic) EFLD-340 Acousto-Optic Deflector and driver
     Off-axis TeO2 cell for the visible;
     50-110 MHz operating frequency, 340 resolvable spots @ 633 nm

Matsushita (Panasonic) EFLD-250 Acousto-Optic Deflector #1
Matsushita (Panasonic) EFLD-250 Acousto-Optic Deflector #2
     Like the EFLD-340, but with a smaller crystal, giving 250 resolvable spots.
     Both in excellent shape; about 150 kHz modulation bandwidth

Isomet 1205C Acousto-Optic Modulator and driver #1
Isomet 1205C Acousto-Optic Modulator and driver #2
     200 MHz centre frequency, 10 MHz analog modulation bandwidth.

Crystal Technology Acousto-Optic Modulator and driver
     80 MHz centre frequency, 10 MHz analog modulation bandwidth.

EOD Low-Voltage Longitudinal Pockels cell modulator
     5 mm aperture, with 8 plates, which reduces Vπ from 3 kV to about 400 V,
     and runs as fast as you can drive it.


36 × 48 × 6 inch Newport Aluminum Optical Breadboard
     Nonmagnetic, which is sometimes a pain and sometimes very useful

Motion Control

Piezo positioning stages
     Wye Creek Instruments, Burleigh, Newport, and others—piezomikes, flexures,
     and pushers.

Oriel 18011 Encoder Mike Controller
     Encodermikes are useful for moderate-performance applications, where open-loop
     steppers are too coarse, but you don't need extreme accuracy. This control box
     is easy to talk to over RS-232, and I have a bunch of code from years back to run it.

Manfrotto Magic Arm
     Indispensable for holding cameras and other things that need to sit at odd angles.
     It's about the length of your arm, and articulated much the same way, with a ball
     joint at shoulder and wrist and a hinge at the elbow. Move and point it as you like,
     then a quarter turn of a handle locks it in place. Mounts conveniently via a 1/4"-20
     screw to the breadboard. A big favourite at EOI.

Manfrotto 035 Super Clamp
     For attaching the arm to places that don't have tapped holes handy. Especially
     good for holding on to Unistrut and other Meccano-type prefabs.

Some dozens of Newport, Melles Griot, Klinger, Thor Labs, and Linos mounts
     Mirror mounts, tilt stages, 1-, 2-, and 3-axis translation stages, damped posts,
     prism tables, lab jacks, fibre positioners, and so on. All the stuff an optics
     lab needs to allow bolting optical systems together quickly.

Microbench mounts
     Microbench (Spindler & Hoyer aka Linos aka Qioptiq) is an optical Meccano set
     based on mounts threaded on four 6-mm centreless-ground stainless rods. Good for
     more alignment-sensitive jobs, but more prone to etalon fringe problems than random


One of these times I'll declare it to be Fixit Week and get these guys back in
harness where they belong.

Hewlett Packard HP 200CD Wide Range Oscillator
     Just because. The original HP 200A was HP's first product, and this is a lineal descendent.
     Wien bridge, tubes, and a light bulb for automatic level control. It was the last tube product in the HP catalogue, 1985.

Hewlett-Packard 3585A Spectrum Analyzer & Tracking Generator 20 Hz → 40 MHz
     (LO unlock problem)

Hewlett-Packard 3400A True RMS AC voltmeter #2
     An early model that reads about 2.5 dB low, probably due to a dead emitter bypass cap someplace.
Hewlett-Packard 3456A 6.5 digit DMM #2
Hewlett-Packard 8013B pulser
Tektronix P6201 FET probe #5
Tektronix 466 Analog Storage Scope
Boonton 93A True RMS Voltmeter (1 mV-300 V)
     The Boonton is a bit of an experiment—it's a lot like an HP 3400A, but with a bandwidth of 20 MHz.
     Like the 3400A, its maximum range is 300 V, which is a fair amount higher than any other
     RF thing I have. Boonton's capacitance meters are amazing, but this particular unit
     reads about 4 dB low.


(Roughly in priority order)

Printed Circuit Board Equipment

PCB Reflow Oven      Since EOI now has a full time PC board designer, we're building more prototype boards, so it would be useful to
     have a proper reflow oven.

RF Gear

HP 70000 Series Modules
     70001A Mainframe
     70800A 0.5m MSIB cable to connect the 70001A to my 70004A display
     70900A/B Local Oscillator
     70902A IF Section 10 Hz → 300 kHz
     70903A IF Section 100 kHz → 3 MHz
     709310A Precison Frequency Reference
     70910A RF Section 100 Hz → 26.5 GHz or
     70905A RF Section 50 kHz → 22 GHz
     70300A Tracking Generator 20 Hz → 2.9 GHz
70301A Tracking Generator 2.7 GHz → 18 GHz

HP 89441A Vector Signal Analyzer
     Like a dynamic signal analyzer, but good up to 2.6 GHz, or DC-10 MHz in one band.      The 35665A is great, but only goes up to 102.4 kHz.

Agilent E4406 Vector Signal Analyzer
     A more modern version of the 89441A, used for testing 3G cell phones (which is why they're now
     pretty affordable used). Needs Option B7C to get the baseband input.

HP 85024A FET Probe
     This is an AC-coupled, 300 kHz - 3 GHz high-Z probe specifically designed for spectrum analyzer use.
     It has low noise and low distortion, and (most important) no DC output, so it won't blow up
     your spectrum analyzer's input mixer.

Physical Measurement Equipment

Taylor-Wharton LD25 25-litre nitrogen dewar
     D050-8C00 transfer tube
     R018-8C00 roller base
     For noise temperature measurements in ultrasensitive front ends, and for
     extracting the junction parameters of metal-insulator-metal (MIM) tunnel junctions
     (It looks like I'll be revisiting that work in the near future.)


1064-nm Nonplanar Ring Oscillator (NPRO) Nd:YAG laser
1319-nm Nonplanar Ring Oscillator (NPRO) Nd:YAG laser
     Single frequency YAGs are beautiful devices. I do a fair amount of stuff in the NIR
     and SWIR, so having a selection of IR lasers is pretty important.
     I have a JDSU NPRO 126N-1064 700 mW unit, which is a thing of great beauty, but it belongs to a client.

Some low-chirp telecom lasers
     For locking to etalons

Other Optical

Astrovid Stellacam III TE-Cooled CCD Camera
     (Rebadged Watec 120+ with a cooling system bolted on by CosmoLogic) plus a
     telecentric C-mount lens for video microscopy Primarily for advanced amateur
     astronomy, but a sweet solution for high sensitivity imaging in a lab setting
     too. Not the absolute lowest dark count rate available, but excellent bang for
     the buck.

Fibre Stuff

The lab is somewhat weaker in fibre devices than in free-space optics, which should be fixed

40 Gb/s Telecom Modulators, e.g. Avanex SD-40
     Zero-chirp longitudinal Pockels cells—very quick, and easy to drive

Polarization Controllers

Fibre Rotators

Diode Laser Launchers

     50:50 and 90:10

     850 nm, 1064 nm, and 1550 nm

Oscilloscopes and Accessories

I have 8 scopes all to myself as it is, but you really can never have too many.

Tektronix MDO4104-6
     4-Channel 1 GHz Digital Scope,
     16 Channel Logic Analyzer
     6 GHz Spectrum Analyzer
     For when my ship comes in. The spectrum analyzer's phase noise is no match for better-grade
     standalone units such as my HP 8566B, but the mixed-domain capability is entirely unique.
     I'm also a fan of the new Agilent 2000 and 3000 series Infiniium scopes,
     especially on account of their writing speed (1 M traces/s) and their very
     responsive user interface, but the three-domain capability gives the Tek the
     edge for electrooptical work.

Tektronix 11800 Series Sampling Heads
     Another SD-20 Loop-through sampling head
     SD-32 50 GHz sampling head
     To match the SD-48 30-GHz O-E converter
     A couple of 012-1220-00 1-m Sampling Head Extenders for benchtop use

Counters and Spectrum Analyzers

EIP 578 Source Locking Microwave Counter
     Turns the HP 8620C sweepers into synthesized generators. In that mode,
     their phase noise is still horrible, but their centre frequency accuracy is very good.

Power supplies

Kepco BOP 72-6M Operational Power Supply, ±72 V, ±6 A
     Mostly for fast temperature control and motion control experiments

RF Gear, Analyzers, and Filters

Hewlett-Packard 3577B 200 MHz Vector Network Analyzer
       HP 35677A/B S-Parameter Test Set
       HP 35676A/B Reflection/Transmission Test Kits

Hewlett-Packard 8752C Opt 006 6 GHz Vector network analyzer
       Option 004: 70 dB step attenuator
       HP 85032B Cal Kit


Hewlett-Packard 8753C Opt 006 6 GHz Vector network analyzer
       HP 85047A S-Parameter Test Set and Cal Kit

K&L Microwave tunable Chebyshev bandpass filters
     5BT-15/30-5-N/N 15-30 MHz
     5BT-30/76-5-N/N 30-76 MHz
     5BT-63/125-5-N-N 63-125 MHz
     5BT-125/250-5-N-N 125-250 MHz
     5BT-250/500-5-N-N 250-500 MHz

Hewlett-Packard 4470A transistor noise tester
     Apparently these have all disappeared, so I'll probably have to build something equivalent

Krohn-Hite Plug-Ins for 3905B
     Models 30A, 31A

Hewlett-Packard 8444A Opt 59 Tracking Generator for 8568B
     The 8566 and 8568 have a slightly screwy frequency plan, so the tracking generator
     isn't exactly locked to the LO, but it's a lot better than nothing.

Another 7-foot EIA rack to hold all this extra stuff!

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Send me an email and let's discuss your application. Comments, corrections, suggestions, or questions are also welcome.

ElectroOptical Innovations LLC, 160 North State Road, Suite 203, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510 (914) 236-3005