As many users already know, Pockels cells, available now from Eksma Optics, are employed in electro-optic modulators, from where they can control applications by altering the electrical voltage. Pockels cell drivers take on this role by supplying the voltage to the electrodes of the Pockels cell. Therefore, users can think of the drivers as the force behind the Pockels cells, signifying their vital role in electro-optics.
Currently, Pockels cells come in handy in various applications, including active mode-locking and Q switching; cavity dumping (in continuous-wave and mode-locked lasers); pulse pickers and regenerative amplifiers for ultrashort pulses; and modulating laser beams.
For a Pockels cell driver to be practical, it has to match the application’s requirements in which it is necessary. In the current market, most of these drivers provide solid-state electronic technology and employ high voltage transistors. As long as the users handle the drivers with care, they can provide an extended lifetime.
Most drivers need a considerable voltage which can be hundreds of volts or even kilovolts. It is particularly so when working with Pockels cells with large apertures. But that is not always the case, and users can sometimes make do with smaller voltages. For example, working with a cell that has a minimal half-wave voltage. The user can easily do this by employing an electro-optic material that has a high electro-optic coefficient. Alternatively, or in combination, they can also work with a small aperture size when working with a transverse cell. Please note that the size does not affect the control voltage but impacts the electrical capacitance in longitudinal cells. When making any alterations, users have to ensure that they adhere to the safety guidelines to avoid electric shock.
Safety is paramount when working with drivers. These provide a high electrical voltage whose shock can be fatal. Users need to make sure that the connection to the power source is stable and suitable and not take any shortcuts. In most cases, users will connect the driver to the public grid, especially when they have the right intact cables and have grounded the AC input connection. It is always much safer when working with devices with balanced bipolar outputs as these have lower voltages against the ground.
The cabling must be proper and well-insulated enough to handle high voltages. When employing a used cable, users must inspect it and watch for any damage, particularly when it comes to insulation. When working in a lab or industry, it is easy for the cables to get damaged even without knowing it. For example, high-voltage drivers may easily get damaged when used in short circuits.
Regular inspection of the cables is always essential. Make a point to inspect the connectors that need to be up to standard. Finally, read through the device manual and master its requirements. Once users have the correct connections and cabling and have run a final check, the device can be turned on. Keep in mind that safety checks are not only essential to ascertain the integrity of the connection, but they could also be the difference between life and death.