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Weird PMT Signal: Help!

  1. May 7, 2008 #1
    Right now I am working with:

    PMT: Hamamatsu R928/0115/0381
    PMT Power Supply: McPherson PMT Power Supply Model # 7640
    O-Scope: Tektronix TDS 5104 Oscilloscope
    PMT Housing: PhotoCool Housing
    PMT Housing Power Supply: PhotoCool Power Supply
    Input: 200 mW 532 nm ND:YAG laser

    I have pictures uploaded but I cannot post them until I have 15 posts. Sigh.

    Here is the problem:

    We are selecting the wavelength through a monochromator. We have the wavelength of the monochromator set to 533NM. We have been able to see some signal from this wavelength setting on the monochromator in the past. So, with a shutter, I took a picture of the waveform with no laser and with laser. Both tests were performed at 935 volts. The first picture shows a normal amount of noise. The second picture however, with the ND:YAG, has a huge dip and then levels off. The noise disappears in this second waveform. This distortion is repeatable, but has been intermitent.

    Saturation has been suggested. It does not seem entirely possibly but right now because of the monochromator, but the current plan is to ND filter the laser and see if any noticeable difference occurs. I also have a chopper lined up to attempt to properly generate a useable signal.

    Anyone have any other suggestions on what may be causing distortion with this PMT setup?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2008 #2


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    Send me the link via PM, and I'll post it.
  4. May 9, 2008 #3


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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  5. May 9, 2008 #4


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    What about the PMT amp itself? Does it maybe have automatic gain control (AGC) that is modulating with the strength of the receive signal?
  6. May 10, 2008 #5
    For a start, most pmt's will give a negative output.
    secondly, you are using a monochromator to view the light signal....so in effect you are allowing nearly all of your laser through unto the pmt.....
    the rated wattage of your laser is 200mW and its seeing nearly all of it with the exception of the small sidebands you get with lasers and how well they are tuned....
    your pmt at that power is absolutely bound to saturate in my opinion......

    consider that if you had a small light source running through your monochromator, then the power would be distributed amongst the differing wavelengths.....here you are confining the power to less than a few nanometers....

    looking at the datasheet for the type...

    i'd say that you have exceeded the max power per lumen that the anode can deliver which would cause saturation....

    The quantum efficiency of the wavelength would make it less because of its peak at 400nm...the chart reveals somewhere around 55%, really its less as at 400nm is not quite a 100% so it would be best to do the ratio properly but i'm just doing it roughly....

    from here we can see how to calculate the maximum input wattage.

    which is the anode current divided by the maximum anode sensitivity (radiant)
    = .1/(roughly 500000) = 0.2uW

    and you are using 200mW......

    chopping is not going to reduce the power.....just the time spent....

    i'd consider trying to either reduce the beam power by using a beam splitter or going for a lens and spreading the beam somewhat in front of the chromator.
    To tell the truth, a beam splitter might only bring it down to 5% which is still much higher...
    maybe by scatter would be a decent solution??

    hope this helps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
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