Light Meters, Fiber Optics and Optogenetics – Part 2 – Bad Detector Advice

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One of our customers was recently shopping for a light meter and detector. I had recommended a particular meter and a detector with a silicone photodiode from a popular vendor. The vendor advised that a detector with a thermal sensor would be better for an LED light source.

Our engineers looked at that sensor, and advised it would be a really bad idea. The detector with the thermal sensor had a very slow response time (like 3 seconds) which would make it extremely inconvenient to use. The user would have to hold the fiber in the exact right spot for 3 seconds to get a correct measurement.

One of the tricky things in measuring the power output of a fiber is getting the fiber to the correct spot in relation to the detector.

The detector we recommend is very fast. This means that the user does not have to be too careful to get the fiber in the exact right spot. The meter has a reading called Max which is the highest power during the session. The max is what the power level was when the fiber was in the optimal position (not too far in or out). By inserting the fiber into the integrating sphere and looking at the max power readout instead of the main readout you can see the power level without worrying about holding the fiber in the exact right spot.

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