Click to Enlarge The left image shows an RC02 collimator mounted into a KM05 Ø1/2" kinematic mount and the right image shows the RC02 mounted into a POLARIS-K1 Ø1" kinematic mount. Both kinematic mounts can be used to align the beam for fiber coupling.
Collimating Light from an Optical Fiber (Can also be Used in Reverse)
Achromatic Design for Collimation Over the Mirror's Reflection Band
UV-Enhanced Aluminum Coating (250 - 450 nm) Offers High Reflection
Great for Coupling Polychromatic Light into Multimode Fiber
Surface Roughness: <100 Å (RMS)
Ø7.5 mm, Ø11 mm, or Ø22 mm Clear Aperture
Ø2 mm, Ø4 mm, Ø8.5 mm, and Ø12 mm Beam Diameters Calculated Assuming 0.13 NA Optical Fiber
Nonmagnetic Stainless Steel Housing
Thorlabs' UV-Enhanced Aluminum Reflective Collimators are based on a 90° off-axis parabolic mirror. A metallic mirror, unlike a lens, has a focal length that remains constant over a broad wavelength range. Due to this intrinsic property, a parabolic mirror collimator does not need to be adjusted to accommodate various wavelengths of light, which makes it ideal for use with polychromatic light.
In multiple-wavelength systems operating in the UV and visible, these reflective collimators can be used to couple polychromatic collimated light into large-core multimode fiber or collimate polychromatic light emitted by optical fibers. Note that, in general, light from a multimode fiber cannot be well collimated. When collimating light from a multimode patch cable, the fiber NA should be <0.40 (RC02), <0.36 (RC04), <0.167 (RC08), or <0.216 (RC12) to avoid clipping light on the housing. For more information on how to optimize coupling of light from an optical fiber, please see the Collimation Tutorial tab.
The RC02, RC04, and RC08 reflective collimator housings are equipped with external SM05 (0.535"-40) threads while the RC12 housing has external SM1 (1.035"-40) threads. This makes them directly compatible with our SM05- or SM1-threaded optomechanics, such as the LMR05 or LMR1 lens mounts, respectively. The RC02, RC04, and RC08 products may also be directly mounted to Ø1" kinematic mounts by removing the knurled ring on the front of the housing and then rethreading it over the back lip of the Ø1" counterbore using an SPW909 Spanner Wrench or an SPW801 Adjustable Spanner Wrench. The collimator can then be secured by tightening the mount's setscrew. The completed setup is shown in the image to the right.
These UV-enhanced aluminum reflective collimators offer excellent reflectivity within the 250 nm - 450 nm wavelength range. Scattering from the mirror surface is minimal (~2% @ 633 nm) and results from the <100 Å RMS surface roughness achieved by the diamond turning process used to manufacture the off-axis parabolic mirror. Please see the Specs tab for additional details about these collimators as well as information about the spectral reflectance of the UV-enhanced aluminum coating.
Fiber Patch Cables for Reflective Collimators Thorlabs offers single mode, polarization-maintaining, or multimode fiber optic patch cables for both coupling and collimating applications. We also have Low-Insertion-Loss Patch Cables, which feature handpicked single mode fiber with tighter core concentricity specifications for lower insertion loss and higher transmission. If you cannot find the appropriate stock patch cable for your application, custom patch cables with same-day shipping are also avilable.
Pointing Errorb (FC/PC- and FC/APC-Connectorized Models)
Approximate beam divergence. Divergence is based on the MFD of the fiber. 0.02° was achieved using S460-HP fiber at 543 nm.
Pointing error is not guaranteed for the SMA905 connectors due to the metal ferrule.
FC/PC and FC/APC versions use wide key connectors.
Beam diameters are based on 0.13 NA fiber and are approximate.
Reflected Focal Length
Parent Focal Length: Off-axis parabolic mirrors can be made individually or cut from an on-axis parent parabolic mirror. When an off-axis parabolic mirror is cut from a parent on-axis parabolic mirror, we have a parent focal length (PFL) spec that arises. The PFL is the RFL of the parent mirror. Note that the RFL specified in the table above is that of the off-axis parabolic mirror. See the drawing to the right for more information.
Click to Enlarge High-NA Fiber: The red line indicates the envelope of the beam that is clipped by the collimator housing. The dashed green line shows the portion of the beam that is collimated by the OAP mirror.
Click to Enlarge Low-NA Fiber: The green line indicates the envelope of the beam as it diverges and is collimated by the OAP mirror.
Selecting a Collimator Based on Desired Output Beam Diameter
When using a reflective fiber collimator to collimate light from a fiber patch cable, selection of the appropriate mirror is often done based on the desired output beam diameter and the numerical aperture (NA) of the fiber. The fiber NA determines the divergence of the light emitted by the fiber prior to being collimated by the off-axis parabolic (OAP) mirror in the reflective collimator. The fiber NA is related to the divergence half angle of the fiber by the relationship:
where θ is the divergence half angle, assuming the surrounding medium is air (n = 1). The collimated beam diameter that results from a diverging light source incident on an OAP mirror is related to the reflected focal length (RFL) of the OAP and the fiber NA; it can be determined using the following equation using the small angle approximation:
where d is the beam diameter. Depending on how the NA of the fiber is specified, the above equation may result in a beam diameter specified at the 5% or 1% level rather than the 1/e2 level. The theoretical divergence of the collimated beam can be calculated using the following equation:
where θc is the divergence angle of the beam after collimation. Because of the relatively low divergence after collimation, these reflective collimators are ideal for collimating the output from low-NA, single mode fiber patch cables.
Although the beam can theoretically be expanded to a given beam diameter, there are two major limitations on collimation with multimode fibers. The large divergence angle of most multimode fibers (e.g., NA = 0.22, 0.39, or 0.50) will cause light to be clipped by the collimator housing before it reaches the OAP mirror (as shown in the image to the right). Therefore, when collimating light from a multimode patch cable, the fiber NA should be <0.40 (RC02), <0.36 (RC04), <0.167 (RC08), or <0.216 (RC12) to avoid clipping light on the housing. The divergence angle is also slightly affected by the fiber core diameter; the maximum NA allowed will decrease slightly as the core diameter increases. If the beam diameter is larger than the clear aperture of the reflective collimator, then the output beam will be clipped by the collimator housing. Both scenarios may result in reduced quality of the output beam.
The table below lists the output beam diameter as a function of the reflected focal length of the mirror and the NA aperture of common single mode and multimode fibers.
Calculated Beam Diameter for Given Fiber NA and RFL
0.13 NA, Single Mode
0.22 NA, Multimode
0.39 NA, Multimode
7 mm RFL (Item # Prefix RC02)
15 mm RFL (Item # Prefix RC04)
33 mm RFL (Item # Prefix RC08)
50.8 mm RFL (Item # Prefix RC12)
Due to the large NA of these fibers, the output beam will be clipped by the collimator housing.
These output beam diameters are larger than the clear aperture of the reflective collimator.
Fiber Collimator Selection Guide
Click on the collimator type or photo to view more information about each type of collimator.
These fiber collimation packages are pre-aligned to collimate light from an FC/PC-, FC/APC-, or SMA-terminated fiber. Each collimation package is factory aligned to provide diffraction-limited performance for wavelengths ranging from 405 nm to 4.55 µm. Although it is possible to use the collimator at detuned wavelengths, they will only perform optimally at the design wavelength due to chromatic aberration, which causes the effective focal length of the aspheric lens to have a wavelength dependence.
For large beam diameters (Ø5.3 - Ø8.5 mm), Thorlabs offers FC/APC, FC/PC, and SMA air-spaced doublet collimators. These collimation packages are pre-aligned at the factory to collimate a laser beam propagating from the tip of an FC or SMA-terminated fiber and provide diffraction-limited performance at the design wavelength.
Thorlabs' High Quality Triplet Fiber Collimation packages use air-spaced triplet lenses that offer superior beam quality performance when compared to aspheric lens collimators. The benefits of the low-aberration triplet design include an M2 term closer to 1 (Gaussian), less divergence, and less wavefront error.
Thorlabs' High-NA Achromatic Collimators pair a meniscus lens with an achromatic doublet for high performance across the visible spectrum with low spherical aberration. Designed for use with high-NA multimode fiber, these collimators are ideal for Optogenetics and Fiber Photometry applications.
Thorlabs' metallic-coated Reflective Collimators are based on a 90° off-axis parabolic mirror. Mirrors, unlike lenses, have a focal length that remains constant over a broad wavelength range. Due to this intrinsic property, a parabolic mirror collimator does not need to be adjusted to accommodate various wavelengths of light, making them ideal for use with polychromatic light. Our reflective collimators are ideal for single-mode fiber.
These compact, ultra-stable FiberPort micropositioners provide an easy-to-use, stable platform for coupling light into and out of FC/PC, FC/APC, or SMA terminated optical fibers. It can be used with single mode, multimode, or PM fibers and can be mounted onto a post, stage, platform, or laser. The built-in aspheric or achromatic lens is available with five different AR coatings and has five degrees of alignment adjustment (3 translational and 2 pitch). The compact size and long-term alignment stability make the FiberPort an ideal solution for fiber coupling, collimation, or incorporation into OEM systems.
These collimators are designed to connect onto the end of an FC/PC or FC/APC connector and contain an AR-coated aspheric lens. The distance between the aspheric lens and the tip of the FC-terminated fiber can be adjusted to compensate for focal length changes or to recollimate the beam at the wavelength and distance of interest.
Thorlabs' Large-Beam Fiber Collimators are designed with an effective focal length (EFL) of 40 mm or 80 mm, have optical elements broadband AR coated for one of three wavelength ranges, and are available with FC/PC, FC/APC, or SMA905 connectors. A four-element, air-spaced lens design produces superior beam quality (M2 close to 1) and less wavefront error when compared to aspheric lens collimators. As a result, these collimators are very flexible; they can be used as free-space collimators or couplers. They may also be used over a long distance in pairs, which allows the free-space beam to be manipulated prior to entering the second collimator and may be useful in long-distance communications applications.
These collimators provide a variable focal length between 6 and 18 mm, while maintaining the collimation of the beam. As a result, the size of the beam can be changed without altering the collimation. This universal device saves time previously spent searching for the best suited fixed fiber collimator and has a very broad range of applications. They are offered with FC/PC, FC/APC, or SMA905 connectors with three different antireflection wavelength ranges to choose from.
Our single mode pigtailed collimators come with one meter of fiber, consist of an AR-coated aspheric lens pre-aligned with respect to a fiber, and are collimated at one of eight wavelengths: 532 nm, 633 nm, 780 nm, 850 nm, 1030 nm, 1064 nm, 1310 nm, or 1550 nm. Although it is possible to use the collimator at any wavelength within the coating range, the coupling loss will increase as the wavelength is detuned from the design wavelength.
Our polarization maintaining pigtailed collimators come with one meter of fiber, consist of an AR-coated aspheric lens pre-aligned with respect to a fiber, and are collimated at one of six wavelengths: 532 nm, 830 nm, 1030 nm, 1064 nm, 1310 nm, or 1550 nm. Custom wavelengths and connectors are available as well. A line is engraved along the outside of the housing that is parallel to the slow axis. As such, it can be used as a reference when polarized light is launched accordingly. Although it is possible to use the collimator at any wavelength within the coating range, the coupling loss will increase as the wavelength is detuned from the design wavelength.
Thorlabs offers gradient index (GRIN) fiber collimators that are aligned at a variety of wavelengths from 630 to 1550 nm and have either FC terminated, APC terminated, or unterminated fibers. Our GRIN collimators feature a Ø1.8 mm clear aperture, are AR-coated to ensure low back reflection into the fiber, and are coupled to standard single mode or graded-index multimode fibers.
These graded-index (GRIN) lenses are AR coated for applications at 630, 830, 1060, 1300, or 1560 nm that require light to propagate through one fiber, then through a free-space optical system, and finally back into another fiber. They are also useful for coupling light from laser diodes into fibers, coupling the output of a fiber into a detector, or collimating laser light. Our GRIN lenses are designed to be used with our Pigtailed Glass Ferrules and GRIN/Ferrule sleeves.