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Dispersion-Compensating Mirror Set

  • Corrects Laser Pulse Dispersion Caused by Optical Elements
  • Extremely Flat Polished Substrates Maintain Beam Quality
  • Used to Improve Image Contrast in Multiphoton Microscopy
  • R > 99% from 700 - 1000 nm


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DCMP175 Reflectivity Plot


  • Coated Mirror Pair that Corrects for Dispersion Introduced During Beam Propagation
  • >99% Reflectivity from 700 - 1000 nm
  • Group Delay Dispersion (GDD) per Reflection: -175 fs2 at 800 nm
  • Coated Surface Dimensions: 10 mm x 50 mm
  • Designed for Pulses with Spectral Bandwidth >50 nm (FWHM)
  • Easily Mounted in Our Kinematic Grating Mount Adapter
  • Set Contains Two Identical Mirrors

Thorlabs' Dispersion-Compensating Mirror Set corrects for the pulse broadening that occurs when ultrashort pulses propagate through an optical system. This set is ideal for use as a dispersion management tool (i.e., precompensation) within a laser scanning microscope setup.

Since a femtosecond laser pulse consists of many different wavelengths, pulse broadening (a lengthening of the temporal intensity profile) will occur when the pulse passes through a dielectric medium, like glass. This broadening is caused by the wavelength dependence of the refractive index of the optical components through which the light travels. In typical glass, shorter wavelengths have higher indices of refraction than longer wavelengths, causing shorter wavelengths to travel slower. These mirrors are specifically designed so that longer wavelengths experience larger group velocity delay than shorter wavelengths, allowing the shorter wavelengths to "catch up" to the longer wavelengths.

Pulse broadening decreases the peak power of the femtosecond laser pulse. Since the intensity of the generated fluorescence depends on the intensity of the excitation pulse, correcting for pulse broadening enhances the image contrast. A demonstration is available in the Application tab.

The highly reflective coating for the 700 - 1000 nm range is deposited on the surface using ion beam sputtering (IBS). This highly repeatable and controllable technique results in durable thin film coatings with high damage thresholds.

Mounting Option
As shown in the figure to the right, these mirrors can be mounted in the Kinematic Grating Mount Adapter, which is compatible with Ø1", front-loading, unthreaded mirror mounts, such as our Polaris Ultrastable Kinematic Mirror Mount.

For Thorlabs' full selection of optics for ultrafast applications, please see the Ultrafast Optics tab.

Wavelength Range700 - 1000 nm
Reflectivity Over Wavelength Range>99%
Group Delay Dispersion (GDD)
per Reflection
-175 fs2 at 800 nm
Clear ApertureAt Least 10 mm x 50 mm
Surface Flatness (Peak to Valley)λ/10 Over Any Ø10 mm in the Clear Aperture
Surface Quality10-5 Scratch-Dig
Damage Threshold0.1 J/cm2
(100 fs Pulses Centered at 800 nm)
Substrate MaterialFused Silica
Dimensions (L X W X D)52.0 mm x 11.0 mm x 12.0 mm
(2.05" x 0.43" x 0.47")
Group Delay Graph
Calculated Group Delay Values
DCMP175 Reflectivity as a function of wavelength
Reflectivity for One Reflection

Multiphoton Imaging With and Without a Dispersion-Compensating Mirror Pair

Multiphoton microscopy is recognized as the premier method for obtaining high-resolution, three-dimensional images from within thick biological samples. Compared to confocal microscopy, multiphoton imaging features more efficient fluorescence detection and reduced photodamage. Furthermore, the use of near-infrared excitation allows for improved imaging depth due to a reduction in scattering losses at the surface.

Since multiphoton microscopy requires simultaneous absorption of two or more photons by the fluorophore, mode-locked pulsed lasers with high repetition rates and ultrashort pulses are employed. These lasers provide the high peak powers necessary to generate sufficient multiphoton absorption in the focal plane while preventing damage to the sample by keeping the average power absorbed low.

However, the standard optical components found in most imaging systems tend to broaden ultrashort laser pulses to the point where the quality of the image will be affected. This pulse broadening occurs because of the wavelength dependence of the refractive index of optical components through which the light travels; shorter wavelengths have higher indices of refraction in glass than longer wavelengths, causing shorter wavelengths to travel slower.

The dispersion of the laser pulse is corrected using dielectric mirrors with specialized coatings that are specifically designed so that longer wavelengths experience a larger group delay than shorter wavelengths, thereby negating pulse broadening caused by other optical elements within the imaging system. The two-photon images of a mouse kidney shown below demonstrate the benefits of using the Dispersion-Compensating Mirror Set for increasing image quality.

 Multiphoton Images
Figure 1. Pseudocolored multiphoton images of a mouse kidney obtained without (frame a) and with (frame b) the use of a Dispersion-Compensating Mirror Set. The glomeruli and convoluted tubules are stained with Alexa Fluor 488 (green) while the nuclei are stained with DAPI (blue). By introducing the mirror pair into the setup, the signal to noise was increased by a factor of approximately 38, thereby providing a higher quality image of the mouse kidney.

The figure to the right shows an images of a mouse kidney specimen that were taken prior to and after inserting the Dispersion-Compensating Mirror Set into the setup. In the specimen (Molecular Probes®, Invitrogen Corp.), the glomeruli and convoluted tubules were labeled with Alexa Fluor 488 (green), while the cell nuclei were labeled with DAPI (blue).

Simultaneous excitation of both fluorophores was accomplished using a Ti:Sapphire oscillator that produces ultrashort (<6 fs) pulses with a 1 GHz repetition rate. Two-photon fluorescence images were obtained with Thorlabs' in-house multiphoton microscope equipped with a 40X objective (Olympus, NA = 0.50).

As shown in the figure, the introduction of a dispersion-compensating mirror set into the experimental setup prior to the imaging optics dramatically improves the quality of the image. Figure 1a shows an image of a mouse kidney specimen that was taken without the use of the mirror set. The group delay dispersion (GDD) attributed to the optical elements in the multiphoton microscope is ~4200 fs2 at 800 nm. Figure 1b shows the same image acquired by using the dispersion-compensating mirror set to negate the GDD of the imaging optics. An intensity analysis of Fig. 1 indicates that the signal-to-noise ratio increased by a factor of approximately 38 (16 dB).

Thorlabs offers a wide selection of optics optimized for use with femtosecond laser pulses. Please see below for more information.

Click the Support Documentation icon document icon or Part Number below to view the available support documentation
Part NumberProduct Description
DCMP175 Support Documentation DCMP175:Dispersion Compensating Mirror Set (2 Pieces)

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Posted Comments:
Posted Date:2013-08-23 10:41:42.49
Is there a recommended maximum distance between the mirrors, a maximum incidence angle or a maximum number of reflexions to consider? Is there an app note or recommendations on using these? Thank you.
Posted Date:2013-08-29 13:18:00.0
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: The recommended maximum angle of incidence (AOI) is about 7°. The correct mirror distance depends on the number of bounces needed. Depending on the wavelength of the laser used, the tolerable AOI can be different as well. We have some plots (for s- and p-polarization) showing the evolution of the calculated GDD in the specified wavelength range as a function of AOI. As a general rule of thumb, the maximum AOI is smaller if the laser wavelength is longer. For example, around 20° AOI might be useable for 750-800nm light but around 10° AOI might be useable for 900-950nm light. However, it should be noted that the performance is not guaranteed for large AOIs. Since you did not leave your e-mail address, can you contact please? We can discuss about this further via e-mail.
Posted Date:2012-05-16 13:45:00.0
Response from Tim at Thorlabs: Thank you for contacting us Jan Metje! Our baseline LIDT for the DCMP is 0.1J/cm^2 for 100fs pulses at 100Hz. Please note that for shorter pulses and higher repetition rates the damage threshold will be smaller.
Posted Date:2012-05-15 07:57:14.0
Dear Sir or Madam, do you know the damage threshold of this dispersion comensating mirror set? Kind regards, Jan Metje
Posted Date:2011-10-12 19:22:00.0
Response from Buki at Thorlabs: The DCMP175 Dispersion-Compensating Mirrors can be mounted in the KM100C Kinematic Cylindrical Lens Mount. The mount accepts any cylindrical or rectangular optic up to 65 mm tall. The mount can be attached to any of Thorlabs' Ø1/2" TR Series posts, which feature an #8-32 (M4) tapped hole. Alternatively, the KM100C mount can also be attached to an RS1.5P Ø1" Pedestal Pillar Post, which has a height of 1.5", and can be secured to the breadboard using a CF125 Clamping Fork. Alternatively, these mirrors can be mounted in the Kinematic Grating Mount Adapter,KGM20, KGM40, or KGM60 which is compatible with Ø1", front-loading, unthreaded mirror mounts. Please contact if you have further questions.
Posted Date:2011-10-12 08:52:58.0
Could you please tell us how and where to install these mirrors ?
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DCMP175 Support Documentation
DCMP175Dispersion Compensating Mirror Set (2 Pieces)
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