Measurement Systems 2

Lock-in Amplifiers

Lock-in amplifiers are an essential part of research laboratories in areas such as optics and photonics, nanotechnology and materials science, quantum technologies, scanning probe microscopy and sensing. Thanks to a lock-in amplifier's ability to extract very small signals buried in noise, it is possible to uncover new science and expand the reach of experimental setups. The working principle of a lock-in amplifier, called demodulation or phase-sensitive detection, rests on mixing the measured signal with a reference frequency followed by low-pass filtering.

Choosing the modulation frequency of the measured signal makes it possible to move it away from dominant noise sources – which is especially relevant close to DC. The correct choice of filter settings can further improve the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).

Our white paper and video on the principles of lock-in detection offer a more detailed discussion.

LabOne Instrument Control Software

All instruments are equipped with the LabOne® user interface providing time- and frequency-domain signal analysis tools in the form of a scope, a real-time data plotter, a DAQ module, a spectrum analyzer and a sweeper. Upgrade options include phase-locked loops, PID controllers, multi-demodulator and multi-frequency functionalities, as well as boxcar averagers and arbitrary waveform generators. These options expand the functionalities of the lock-in amplifiers; their installation does not require users to send the instrument back to us, as upgrade options are built on the FPGA-powered digital signal processing unit.

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Impedance Analyzers

Zurich Instruments offers a powerful toolset for all types of impedance measurement. All instruments are equipped with the control software LabOne®, and additional options can be added to fulfill the requirements of the most demanding applications.

MFIA Impedance Analyzer

Key features

1 mHz to 5 MHz, 1 mΩ to 1 TΩ

Fast and accurate measurements

Ideal fit for DLTS, MEMS and ESR & ESL applications


Electrical engineering: sensors, supercapacitors, semiconductor characterization, DLTS, low ESR/ESL, ultra-high resistors, high-Q dielectrics.

Materials research: dielectrics, piezoelectrics, ceramics and composites, solar materials, geomaterials, thin films, nanostructure characterization

Bioimpedance: tissue impedance analysis, cell growth, food research, microfluidics, wearable sensors

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Arbitrary Waveform Generators

Zurich Instruments offers arbitrary waveform generators (AWGs) that set new standards for channel density and integration with other measurement tools.

HDAWG: High-Density Multi-Channel AWGs

With the highest channel density and the most advanced synchronization features on the market, the HDAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator is the choice for multi-channel applications with up to 64 channels. The noise characteristics of the 2.4 GSa/s, 16-bit signal generation and an ultra-low trigger latency unlock new levels of performance. Further, the LabOne® control software provides an intuitive and efficient way to program arbitrary signals.

UHFAWG: AWGs with Integrated Detection

The 2-channel UHFAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator with 1.8 GSa/s and 14-bit D/A conversion is the only AWG with integrated detection that can be configured to the user's needs with a selection of measurement tools (Scope, Digitizer, Spectrum Analyzer, Lock-in Amplifier/Demodulation, Boxcar Averager, etc.) on its 600 MHz signal inputs. In this way, complex setups with non-sinusoidal excitation patterns can be radically simplified at the hardware and software level. It is also possible to eliminate clock synchronization issues associated with compound setups.

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Phase-Locked Loops

Phase-locked loops (PLLs) are closed-loop negative-feedback control systems that maintain the phases of two periodic signals in a well-defined phase relation. Consequently, PLLs are versatile tools for measuring and tracking a signal's frequency, for extracting a given frequency component of the original signal while eliminating noise and spurious components, or for synthesizing new signals based on the input signal.

In addition, PLLs can provide feedback to an external system to drive it at certain points of its transfer function, for example at resonance, or to synchronize two external oscillators by tracking their beat note as often done in optical PLLs. This versatility makes PLLs great tools for physics and engineering applications such as scanning probe microscopy, MEMS, NEMS and resonators, electronic engineering, optics and photonics.

PLLs for Lock-in Amplifiers

All Zurich Instruments' PLLs are implemented by means of digital signal processing on an FPGA with multiple numerically controlled oscillators available as signal sources. The phase detector is realized as the dual-phase demodulator of a lock-in amplifier with a low-pass filter that rejects many of the unwanted spectral components.

Providing a clean signal to the PID controller increases the stability of the PLL. Zurich Instruments' PLLs can realize basic PLL configurations as well as more complex measurement and control schemes with a single instrument, because the PLLs are upgrade options for our lock-in amplifiers and can run in parallel with other built-in functionality such as feedback controllers, demodulators, and data capture and analysis tools. This white paper provides a more detailed discussion of lock-in amplifiers and phase detection.

LabOne instrument control software

All Zurich Instruments' lock-in amplifiers are equipped with the LabOne® toolset that allows users to fully characterize their system with a parametric sweeper, an oscilloscope, and many other data acquisition tools. For instance, it is possible to visualize the PID error as a histogram to spot deviations from a normal distribution, which may indicate that something in the setup does not work as expected. Further, the PLL's bandwidth can be measured under real experimental conditions using a frequency modulation method, as shown in the figure to the right.

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Boxcar Averagers

Boxcar averagers are attractive tools to achieve a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in a minimal amount of measurement time when working with low duty-cycle signals. Such signals contain relevant information only in a fraction of each period; outside that fraction only noise is present. Capturing low duty-cycle signals with high quality and the ability for real-time feedback is crucial in many applications in optics and photonics, nanotechnology and materials science, quantum technologies, scanning probe microscopy, and sensing.

The graphic below illustrates the principle of boxcar averaging: limiting the measurement to a well-defined temporal window in each period, indicated in grey, means that all signal components outside of that window are rejected. Unlike a regular digitizer or an oscilloscope, the measurement results are immediately available in the digital domain and as analog signals with a user-defined offset and scaling factors. Moreover, integrated PID controllers can process the results to create feedback loops and the lock-in amplifier units can perform additional demodulation on the boxcar results if an additional modulation is present.

Boxcar Averager for Lock-in Amplifiers

The Zurich Instruments Boxcar Averager operates as a high-speed digitizer synchronized to a reference oscillator that is phase-locked to the periodicity of the experiment. In the case of the laser repetition rate, for example, every data sample recorded at the input can be associated with the phase of the experiment and the signal components not synchronized with the experiment are strongly suppressed. The implementation based on an external reference signal removes the trigger jitter, and the digital realization enables a dead-time-free operation.

2 Boxcar Averagers for 600 MHz Lock-in Amplifier

2 periodic waveform analyzers

Baseline suppression

Zero acquisition dead time

User Benefits

Save time on high-quality measurements of low duty-cycle signals.

Choose the best-suited technique for every new experiment: boxcar averaging, lock-in detection or both.

Demanding schemes and methods such as double modulation, baseline suppression and feedback loop operation become straightforward to implement thanks to the LabOne toolset.

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BeamPro Beam Profiler

Beam Profilers allow the measurement of the entire optical intensity profile of laser beams. They not only retrieve the beam diameter and position, but also the full spatial shape of the beam.

Available as

Compact version

Low profile

µ-Low profile

SWIR Range


STAR software for all beam profilers

Live extraction of beam properties, even with resolutions larger than 20 Mpx

Several parameters and methods supported (ISO calculation included)

Enhanced background & hot pixels treatment for optimum dynamic and signal-to-noise ratio

Client / Server interface, allowing remote control through network

Advanced logging and permanent access to the 10 previous acquisitions

Live comparison with up to 10 different reference measurements

1-click installation, completely configurable, export assistant

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ROC Autocorrelators

Pulse duration measurement made easy

Optical autocorrelators are used to measure pulse duration of ultra-short laser pulses. The principle is to create two copies of the laser beam of interest with a beam splitter. The copies are superimposed in a nonlinear medium (SHG crystal), where they interact generating a third beam. As the overlap of the two copies depends on the pulse duration, analysing the third beam allows to calculate the pulse duration.

Discover the autocorrelator models of Femto Easy

The autocorrelators of our ROC series offer a wide variety of benefits: The ROC Single-shot accompanies you on every experimental adventure with plenty of comfort. The µ-ROC Single-Shot impresses with its ultralow compact size and high-quality workmanship and brings you directly into machines and lasers (OEM integration) thanks to innovative technology. The MS-ROC is suitable for broad pulse ranges and allows the measurement of pulses from 5 fs to 40 ps / 25 fs to 80 ps.


The Femto Easy software has been designed to be user friendly and intuitive. This is a modern software compatible with touchscreen that can run either under Linux or Windows. It allows distant control of the devices via PC, tablet or smartphone. We can also provide custom software developments upon request.

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MISS 2D spectrometer

Acquire spatially-resolved spectrum of laser beams

MISS (Mini Imaging Spatial Spectrometer) gives access to the spatially-resolved (2D) spectrum of laser beams. Thanks to its unique compactness, MISS allows vertical and horizontal spatial chirp measurements at any position of your beam path. It can easily be integrated at different stages of amplified laser systems. It can be used in free-space mode to take benefit of the spatial resolution, or conveniently with a fiber input, like a regular spectrometer (plug & play SMA fiber connector included).

2D spectrum characterization for many common types of lasers

A conventional spectrometer allows you to know the spectrum for your laser, i.e. the intensity of each wavelength (or frequency) present in your laser. Most of regular spectrometers give an average spectrum (1D), where imaging spectrometer allows you to know the spectrum at different positions along the laser beam cross-section (2D).

Our MISS spectrometer gives you a two dimensions image, one dimension being the position in one diameter of the beam, the other being the spectrum at this position.


Like every Femto Easy product, the MISS comes with a powerful and very user friendly software, especially designed for touch screens, in order to give you the best user experience.

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Realtime FROG

High-resolution FROG with visual feedback on all important pulse characteristics: pulse duration, spectral width, chirp, pulse front tilt, phase modulation, dispersion.

Frequency-Resolved Optical Gating allows for a complete recovery of pulse intensity and phase of ultrashort pulses with complex shapes. It can retrieve the full time-dependant electric field and the equivalent optical spectrum with spectral phase. In other words, FROG allows you to know the duration of your laser pulses, but also how to deal with the spectral phase to achieve the shortest possible pulse duration.

Discover the FROG models of Femto Easy

Femto Easy’s single-shot and multi-shot models come with unique features and different configuration options. Compare the two model ranges and discover which FROG system meets your ultra-short pulse measurement needs best.


Fast FROG software comes with an optimized retrieval algorithm, that allows you to retrieve time and spectral information in real time.

Live extraction of shot-to-shot pulse properties: temporal profile intensity and phase, fundamental spectrum and phase, Chirp, Third-order dispersion.

Super-fast reconstruction speed and quality due to the combination of several algorithms (including the Ptychographic Iterative Engine)

High dynamic and low signal-to-noise ratio secured by enhanced background & hot pixels treatment

Remote control through network (Client / Server interface)

All data exportable into most common formats

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