VariSpec™
LIQUID CRYSTAL TUNABLE FILTERS
User’s Manual for VariSpec
Seeing life in a new light
Notice
The information in this document is subject to change without notice and should not be construed as a commitment
by Cambridge Research & Instrumentation, Inc. CRi assumes no responsibility for any errors that may appear in
this document. This manual is believed to be complete and accurate at the time of publication. In no event shall
CRi be liable for incidental or consequential damages in connection with or arising from the use of this manual.
For more information contact:
Cambridge Research & Instrumentation, Inc. (CRi)
35-B Cabot Road, Woburn, MA, 01801, USA
(Toll-Free US) 1-800-383-7924, (Phone) +1-781-935-9099, (Fax) +1-781-935-3388
Email: techsupport@cri-inc.com
Web site: http://www.cri-inc.com
Document Part No. MD15474 Rev. D, August 2010
CRi, 35-B Cabot Road, Woburn, MA, 01801, USA :: (Toll-Free US) 1-800-383-7924, (P) +1-781-935-9099, (F) +1-781-935-3388 :: sales@cri-inc.com :: www.cri-inc.com
Contents
Chapter 1, Introduction to VariSpec Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters
1
Introduction...........................................................................................................................................................1
Important Features ................................................................................................................................................2
Applications..........................................................................................................................................................2
Glossary of VariSpec LCTF Terminology ...........................................................................................................3
Operator and Equipment Safety............................................................................................................................4
Cautionary Statements ...................................................................................................................................4
For Technical Assistance ...............................................................................................................................4
About This Manual ...............................................................................................................................................4
Design Change Disclaimer.............................................................................................................................5
Reproduction Disclaimer ...............................................................................................................................5
CE Testing and Certification ................................................................................................................................5
VariSpec Hardware Components .........................................................................................................................6
VariSpec Filter Module..................................................................................................................................7
USB Peripheral Type-A to Mini-B Cable......................................................................................................7
VariSpec XNIR-09-20 Electronics Controller Module..................................................................................7
Optics-to-Electronics Cable ...........................................................................................................................8
Mounting Block .............................................................................................................................................8
Mounting Inserts (optional accessory) ...........................................................................................................8
52 mm Camera Lens Thread Adapter (optional accessory)...........................................................................8
VariSpec Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) installation CD ................................................................................9
Chapter 2, Setting Up a VariSpec Filter
11
Unpacking the VariSpec Filter and Accessories ................................................................................................11
Installing the VariSpec Software ........................................................................................................................12
Connecting the VariSpec Filter (except XNIR-09-20 models) ..........................................................................12
Connecting XNIR-09-20 Dual-Housing Filter Models ......................................................................................13
VsGui Program for Windows XP and Windows 7.............................................................................................15
Chapter 3, Controlling VariSpec Filters
17
Components of the VariSpec SDK .....................................................................................................................17
Windows DLL..............................................................................................................................................17
National Instruments® LabVIEW™ Sub-VIs .............................................................................................18
MATLAB® M-Files ....................................................................................................................................18
VsGui Program for Windows XP Professional and Windows 7 (32-bit) ....................................................18
Controlling VariSpec Filters with Direct Serial Commands ..............................................................................18
Initialization .................................................................................................................................................18
Palette Commands........................................................................................................................................19
VariSpec XNIR-09-20 TTL Sync Port ........................................................................................................19
LED Behavior ..............................................................................................................................................20
Putting the VariSpec Filter to Sleep.............................................................................................................20
Escape, Status-Check, and Busy-Check Characters ....................................................................................20
Command Nomenclature .............................................................................................................................21
Brief and Auto-Confirm Formats.................................................................................................................21
Table of Commands .....................................................................................................................................22
Descriptions of VariSpec Serial Commands................................................................................................22
Error Codes.........................................................................................................................................................27
Contents — i
Programming Examples......................................................................................................................................28
Example 1. Tuning by wavelength...............................................................................................................28
Example 2. Tuning with a palette ................................................................................................................29
Example 3. Cycling through various wavelengths using the TTL Sync port on the XNIR-09-20 ..............30
Controlling VariSpec Filters with Other Operating Systems .............................................................................30
Chapter 4, Frequently Asked Questions & Troubleshooting
31
FAQs...................................................................................................................................................................31
Appendix A, System Specifications & Dimensions
37
Operating Specifications.....................................................................................................................................37
Mechanical Dimensions (Optics Module) ..........................................................................................................38
VariSpec 22 mm Aperture Standard Enclosure ...........................................................................................38
VariSpec 22 mm Aperture Dual-Housing Enclosure...................................................................................38
VariSpec 22 mm Aperture Enclosure for the XNIR-09-20 Model .............................................................39
VariSpec Mounting Adapters for 22 mm Aperture Models.........................................................................40
Standard 22 mm Aperture Filter Mounting Block .......................................................................................42
VariSpec 22 mm Aperture Enclosure for the LNIR-20-20 Model ..............................................................43
VariSpec 35 mm Aperture Enclosure ..........................................................................................................43
Dovetail Spacer ............................................................................................................................................44
Dovetail C-Mounts.......................................................................................................................................44
Electronics Controller Module ...........................................................................................................................46
Optics-to-Electronics Cable................................................................................................................................46
Appendix B, Operating Considerations
47
Variation of FWHM with Pass Wavelength.......................................................................................................47
Bandwidth Center Across Angle-of-Acceptance................................................................................................47
Response Time versus Tuning Wavelength .......................................................................................................47
Thermal Drift and Re-Initialization ....................................................................................................................47
Response Time versus Temperature...................................................................................................................48
Fringing in Coherent Light .................................................................................................................................48
Tuning Latency...................................................................................................................................................48
Near-Infrared Warning .......................................................................................................................................48
Using HyperTerminal™ for Manual Control .....................................................................................................49
Appendix C, Legacy Hardware and Software Considerations
51
Optics and Electronics Controller Modules........................................................................................................51
Handheld Controller ...........................................................................................................................................51
Legacy Software .................................................................................................................................................51
Appendix D, CRi Software End-User License Agreement
53
Appendix E, VariSpec Quick Start Guide
57
Index
59
ii — Contents
Chapter 1
Introduction to VariSpec Liquid
Crystal Tunable Filters
This chapter provides information about VariSpec liquid crystal tunable filters (LCTFs)
that is common to all filter models. Appendices are used to provide additional information,
specific to individual models.
Topics in this chapter:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Page
Important Features ............................................................................................... 2
Applications......................................................................................................... 2
Glossary of VariSpec LCTF Terminology ........................................................... 3
Operator and Equipment Safety........................................................................... 4
About This Manual .............................................................................................. 4
CE Testing and Certification................................................................................ 5
VariSpec Hardware Components ......................................................................... 6
VariSpec Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) installation CD................................ 9
Introduction
CRi’s VariSpec LCTF family are solid-state tunable birefringent filters that can be used for
both imaging and non-imaging spectral analysis. The filters function like high-quality
interference filters, but the wavelengths of light they transmit are electronically tunable
and allow for the rapid, vibration-less selection of any wavelength in the visible (VIS) or
near-infrared (NIR) region for which the filters have been constructed to operate.
VariSpec filters employ electronically controlled liquid crystal elements to select a
transmitted wavelength range while blocking all others. Filter transmittance is sensitive to
polarization of the input beam, and is increased by a factor of two if the input beam is
polarized along the axis of the input polarizer, as compared with a non-polarized or
Introduction to VariSpec Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters — 1
randomly-polarized beam. VIS models contain an integral, non-removable hot mirror for
blocking unwanted NIR light. The product family includes the following models:
• VIS: Visible-wavelength filters with a wavelength range of 400 nm to 720 nm,
bandwidths (FWHM) of 7 nm, 10 nm, or 20 nm, and working apertures of either 22
mm or 35 mm
• SNIR: Short-wavelength near-infrared filters with a wavelength range of 650 nm to
1100 nm, bandwidths (FWHM) of 7 nm or 10 nm, and a working aperture of 22 mm
• LNIR: Longer-wavelength near-infrared filters with a wavelength range of 850 nm
to 1800 nm, bandwidths (FWHM) of 6 nm or 20 nm, and a working aperture of 22
mm
• XNIR: Longer-wavelength near-infrared filter with a wavelength range of 1200 nm
to 2450 nm, bandwidth (FWHM) of 9 nm, and a working aperture of 22 mm
• VISR: Visible-wavelength filter with a wavelength range of 480 nm to 750 nm,
extraordinarily narrow bandwidth (FWHM) of 0.25 nm (best effort), and a working
aperture of 22 mm
• NIRR: Near-infrared wavelength filter with a wavelength range of 650 nm to 1100
nm, extraordinarily narrow bandwidth (FWHM) of 0.75 nm (best effort), and a
working aperture of 22 mm
Important Features
Important features of VariSpec filters include:
• Ability to tune continuously over hundreds of nanometers in the VIS and NIR
• Excellent imaging quality
• Solid-state construction, with no moving parts
• Fast, random-access wavelength selection
• Compact, low-power design
Applications
VariSpec filters offer excellent imaging quality, making them ideal for use with imaging
sensors such as silicon-based CCDs or InGaAs sensors. Additionally, they can be used as
compact, robust spectrometers with high throughput, well-suited to applications where
imaging may not even be required. Key applications include:
• Remote Sensing
• Machine vision QA/QC
• Astronomy
• CCD/Display characterization
• Raman chemical imaging
• General research involving spectral imaging
2 — Introduction to VariSpec Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters
Glossary of VariSpec LCTF Terminology
Bandwidth
The Full-Width at Half-Maximum (FWHM), measured as the spectral separation between
the two points where the filter’s transmission attains 50% of the peak value. The passband
center wavelength is the wavelength midway between these two points. VariSpec filters
come in a variety of bandwidths, which are set during the design and manufacturing
process and are not adjustable by the end-user.
Center Wavelength
Not necessarily the highest point in the T curve, this is defined as midway between the
half-maxima points.
Off-Axis Performance at Limit of Angle-of-Acceptance
Off-axis rays at the limit of the angle-of-acceptance are permitted to be spectrally shifted
by up to Bandwidth/8 from the on-axis ray value. So, in the worst case, the center ray
could have a center wavelength which exceeds the ideal by +Bandwidth/8, and an off-axis
ray could be shifted by +Bandwidth/8 red of that, or +Bandwidth/4 away from the ideal
value.
Out-of-Band Transmittance or Contrast
The average ratio of transmission without the VariSpec filter in place to the transmission
of unselected wavelengths with the filter in place. Typical performance is 0.01%.
Passband
The spectral region from [Center Wavelength – 1.2 * FWHM] to [Center Wavelength +
1.2 * FWHM].
Response Time
The time it takes to switch from one wavelength to another. The major factor that affects
this number is the liquid crystal (LC) relaxation time from “charge” to “no charge” states
under various ambient temperatures. Typically, this time is 50 ms to 150 ms.
Transmission
The percentage of linearly polarized light, oriented so that maximum transmission is
attained, passing through the filter relative to the amount that entered. Since the entrance
element of the filter is a linear polarizer, transmission of randomly polarized light is half
that of linearly polarized light in the correct orientation. VariSpec transmission is
wavelength-dependent.
Tuning Accuracy
The tuning accuracy specification is that the center wavelength be correct within the actual
Bandwidth/8 +/- 0.5 nm. Tuning accuracy is specified for on-axis rays.
Introduction to VariSpec Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters — 3
Operator and Equipment Safety
It is the responsibility of the purchaser to ensure that all persons who will operate the
VariSpec LCTF are aware of the following cautionary statements. As with any scientific
instrument, there are important safety considerations, which are highlighted throughout
this User’s Manual.
Cautionary Statements
READ AND UNDERSTAND THIS USER’S MANUAL BEFORE ATTEMPTING
TO OPERATE, TROUBLESHOOT, OR MAINTAIN THE VARISPEC LCTF.
READING THIS MANUAL FIRST MAKES IT EASIER AND SAFER TO
OPERATE AND MAINTAIN THE FILTER.
Do not expose the optics module to prolonged heat above 40 °C.
Do not drop the optics module or the electronics controller module.
Do not expose the optics module to intense light from laser, focused arc or Hg lamp
sources.
Do not operate the filter in places where it may be splashed with liquid. The optics module
may be cleaned using the procedure described in the troubleshooting section of this User’s
Manual.
Do not operate the filter in an environment with explosive or flammable gases.
Use only the supplied cables. Some cables supplied with the system have proprietary
specifications. Do not connect components supplied by CRi using unqualified cables or
adapters. Doing so could result in damage, and voids the Warranty.
Use only a host computer that has a properly grounded power outlet.
Disconnect the USB cable and any power cables before servicing the unit. Servicing
should be performed by CRi authorized and trained personnel only.
For Technical Assistance
If you experience any difficulty setting up, operating, or maintaining your VariSpec LCTF,
please contact your CRi representative. CRi’s office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
(US Eastern Standard/Daylight Time), Monday through Friday.
• Telephone (US Toll-Free): 1-800-383-7924
• Telephone (Worldwide): +1-781-935-9099
• Facsimile (Worldwide): +1-781-935-3388
• Email: techsupport@cri-inc.com.
About This Manual
This manual is designed to serve users of the CRi VariSpec LCTF product family.
Operating instructions, functional descriptions, troubleshooting, illustrations, and other
relevant information are contained in this manual.
4 — Introduction to VariSpec Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters
Your particular VariSpec LCTF may include additional support documentation from thirdparty vendors. Bear in mind that the VariSpec LCTF may have been modified or customdesigned, so treat such third-party documentation as supplemental material only. In cases
where CRi and third-party documentation differ, and you have any doubt as to which
applies to your system, contact an authorized CRi distributor or service representative.
Design Change Disclaimer
Due to design changes and product improvements, information in this manual is subject to
change without notice. CRi reserves the right to change product design at any time without
notice to anyone, which may subsequently affect the content of this manual. CRi will
make every reasonable effort to ensure that this User’s Manual is up to date and
corresponds with the VariSpec LCTF as currently shipped.
Reproduction Disclaimer
No part of this manual may be reproduced, photocopied, or electronically transmitted,
except for reference by a user of the VariSpec LCTF, without the advance written
permission of CRi.
CE Testing and Certification
The VariSpec LCTF has been tested by an independent CE testing
facility, and bears the appropriate CE mark.
The following is the CRi distributor in the European Union region
authorized to function as primary contact for CE-related matters concerning CRi products:
LOT-Oriel GmbH & Co. KG
Im Tiefen See 58
D-64293 Darmstadt
Germany
Tel: +49 6151 88 06 0
Fax: +49 6151 896667
Email: info@lot-oriel.de
Introduction to VariSpec Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters — 5
VariSpec Hardware Components
VariSpec filters consist of either a single module containing both the optics and electronics
assemblies or a matched set of two modules. The XNIR-09-20 model, due to its unique
optical construction, utilizes two matched sets of optics and electronics modules
connected by shielded cables. All VariSpec filters draw power from and are controlled by
the Universal Serial Bus (USB) connector of a host computer.
Figure 1. VariSpec with 20 mm Optics
Figure 2. VariSpec with 35 mm Optics
6 — Introduction to VariSpec Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters
Figure 3. LNIR-06-20, Dual VariSpec with 20 mm Optics
VariSpec Filter Module
• The entrance aperture receives the light, and for VIS models is the side that contains
the integral hot mirror. For filters with a blue and silver housing, the entrance
aperture is the blue side.
• The exit aperture passes linearly polarized light. The orientation is the same or
perpendicular to the input polarizer, depending on the design. For filters with a blue
and silver housing, the exit aperture is the silver side.
• With the exception of the XNIR-09-20 model, the rear panel of the filter module
contains a USB connector and a Status LED.
USB Peripheral Type-A to Mini-B Cable
A USB Type-A to Mini-B cable connects the filter module to the host computer or a
powered USB hub. For the XNIR-09-20 model, a USB Type-A to Type-B cable connects
the VariSpec electronics controller module to the host computer or a powered USB hub.
VariSpec XNIR-09-20 Electronics Controller Module
The front panel of the XNIR-09-20 electronics controller module (Figure 4) contains an
LED labeled Init and an LED labeled Status.
Figure 4. Front Panel of VariSpec Electronics Controller
Introduction to VariSpec Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters — 7
• Init LED flashes during data communication between the electronics controller
module and the host computer.
• Status LED momentarily flashes Green during power-up and initialization
(approximately 30 seconds).
The rear panel contains four clearly labeled interface ports (left to right, viewed from the
rear).
• Optics A is a 26-pin connector for the HD D-sub cable connecting the Optics and
Electronics Controller modules.
• TTL Sync is a connector with a single trigger-detect line that can be configured to
allow the filter to respond to a synchronization pulse generated by cameras, shutters,
and other equipment.
• USB is a “Type-B” USB connector.
• Optics B is not used and has a blank cover.
Optics-to-Electronics Cable
For the XNIR-09-20 model, a drive signal connector on the optics module connects to its
paired electronics module through a 26-pin high-density (HD) D-sub cable. This cable is
shielded and the present model utilizes twisted-pair construction for reduced crosstalk.
WARNING! DO NOT connect a computer, function generator, or other signal source to
this connector, as the liquid crystal elements may be destroyed. Doing so voids the
warranty. The optics module is designed to be driven by the electronics controller module
ONLY. Do not disconnect the cable while the electronics controller module is turned ON.
Mounting Block
Mounting blocks may be attached to three sides of the optics module, to allow the use of
the filters on an optical table or on conventional 1/4-20 UNC-2B threaded tripods. One
mounting block is included per optics module. You may order more if you wish.
Mounting Inserts (optional accessory)
Stainless-steel dovetailed inserts with either male or female C-mount threads or a male Tmount thread can be placed into the round inset on either the front or rear of the smallaperture 20 mm optics module and held in place with setscrews. By default, a “blank” flat
dovetailed insert with no threaded side is mounted on each side of new filters.
52 mm Camera Lens Thread Adapter (optional accessory)
The 52 mm camera lens thread adapter allows you to convert a male T-mount thread to a
common 52 mm size. This enables you to attach the filter to the front of a camera lens. If
the front of your camera lens is a different diameter, you can purchase “stepping rings”
from camera stores or photographic supply companies to go from the 52 mm thread to
nearly any other thread size. For example, a 62 mm to 52 mm step-down ring lets you
mount the VariSpec filter in front of a lens with a 62 mm thread diameter.
8 — Introduction to VariSpec Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters
Male T-Mount
Female C-Mount
Male C-Mount
Mounting Block
52 mm Camera Lens
Thread Adapter
Hex Key for Set Screws
Figure 5. Mounting Block and Adapters for 20 mm Filter
Male T-Mount
Male C-Mount
52 mm Camera Lens
Thread Adapter
Female C-Mount
Mounting Block
Hex Key for Set Screws
Figure 6. Mounting Block and Adapters for 35 mm Filter
VariSpec Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) installation CD
The CD-ROM that comes with each filter is a Windows®-compatible CD-ROM
containing the following components:
• Windows-compatible operating system installer for the CRi SDK
• Apple® Mac® OS X drivers for the USB interface
• Linux® drivers for the USB interface
• VariSpec User’s Manual as an Adobe® PDF file
Introduction to VariSpec Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters — 9
10 — Introduction to VariSpec Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters
Chapter 2
Setting Up a VariSpec Filter
Topics in this chapter:
•
•
•
•
•
Page
Unpacking the VariSpec Filter and Accessories ................................................ 11
Installing the VariSpec Software ....................................................................... 12
Connecting the VariSpec Filter (except XNIR-09-20 models).......................... 12
Connecting XNIR-09-20 Dual-Housing Filter Models ..................................... 13
VsGui Program for Windows XP and Windows 7 ............................................ 15
Unpacking the VariSpec Filter and Accessories
Upon receiving your VariSpec LCTF, carefully unpack the components and compare the
contents against the shipping list. Be careful with the glass surfaces of the optics module,
since they have anti-reflective (AR) coatings that can be scratched if not handled carefully.
Most models include the following items:
• VariSpec optics module (you will receive two if you ordered a dual-housing model)
• USB interface cable (Type-A to Mini-B) for connecting the filter to your host
computer (you will receive two if you ordered a dual-housing model)
• If you ordered an XNIR-09-20 model, you will receive two electronics controller
modules, two 26-pin HD cables, and two USB interface cables (Type-A to Type-B)
• CD-ROM containing the VariSpec software installer
• Additional adapters and mounts for optics module(s), if ordered
• VariSpec User’s Manual in printed form
• Spectral Scan in printed form
Important! Do not connect the VariSpec filter to your host computer until you have
installed the appropriate USB drivers.
Setting Up a VariSpec Filter — 11
Installing the VariSpec Software
CRi supplies a Windows-compatible SDK installation CD-ROM with each VariSpec filter.
Included hardware drivers are specific to the Windows operating system. However, you
may contact CRi if you are interested in drivers for other operating systems.
Note that these instructions apply to standard single-housing filter designs. Dual-housing
designs have to VariSpec modules. The demonstration software does not support dual
module filters. But the existing drivers or LabVIEW sub-VIs can be used to write
programs fully capable of controlling these dual models. You can also use HyperTerminal
or similar terminal emulators to send the appropriate serial (ASCII character-based)
commands to each Varispec module.
Your host computer needs to be running Windows XP or Windows 7. Log in as an
Administrator to install the software. You must have a USB port available and the port
must be able to provide the standard USB power load. If you have multiple USB devices
connected to the same port through an unpowered USB hub, you may need to utilize a
powered hub.
1. DO NOT attach the VariSpec filter hardware to the computer yet. Turn on the
computer and allow it to boot into the Windows XP or Windows 7 operating system.
2. Insert the CD-ROM containing the VariSpec demonstration and SDK software into
your CD-ROM drive. Or, if you downloaded the installer, open the zip file.
3. Locate the Microsoft installer file, most likely named something similar to
“VsRev1p37.msi” or “VsRev1p37.exe.” Double-click the executable to start the
Installation Wizard.
4. Choose the “Full” installation type. Continue with the Wizard until you can click the
Finish button to complete the installation.
Connecting the VariSpec Filter (except XNIR-09-20 models)
1. Connect the VariSpec filter to the computer using the included USB Type-A to Mini-B
cable (Figure 7).
Figure 7. Mini USB cable connects to the filter and computer
12 — Setting Up a VariSpec Filter
2. The blinking LED indicates that the filter is initializing and exercising the liquid
crystal (LC) elements in the optics module and bringing the filter to a known state. For
example, 550 nm in the case of a visible-wavelength (VIS) model.
3. If this is a first time installation, the computer should launch a Found New Hardware
Wizard. Click the Next button to proceed. (If the wizard did not start automatically,
launch the New Hardware Wizard from the Windows Control Panel.)
4. Choose to “Search for a suitable driver for my device” and click the Next button. A
Files Needed window may appear. Windows may ask if it can install the software
automatically or from a list or special location. Choose “automatically or the
CDROM/ installation folder” as the search location. Windows should find a file on the
CD-ROM named “ftdibus.inf.” Click Next. Windows should then find a file named
“ftdiport.inf.” Click Next and then click Finish. If Windows cannot find the files, go
back and manually locate the files.
5. After the Add New Hardware Wizard has finished, you will see a new program group
icon appear: Start > Programs > CRi. This program group includes the demonstration
software “VsGui.exe” and a PDF copy of the User’s Manual.
Connecting XNIR-09-20 Dual-Housing Filter Models
The host computer must have two available USB ports.
1. Click on the Windows Start button and go to Settings > Control Panel > System.
2. Click on the Hardware tab and then the Device Manager button.
3. Click on the '+' symbol next to the Ports (COM & LPT) list item. Note the COM ports that
you have on your computer. If you have any other serial devices, such as modems,
filter wheels, mice, or keyboards attached to your computer, they will be represented
by a particular COM port.
4. Use a 26-pin HD D-sub cable to connect the VariSpec electronics controller module
whose serial number has the suffix “A” to the optics module whose serial number has
suffix “A”. (Refer to Figure 8 on page 14.)
5. Use a second 26-pin HD D-sub cable to connect the electronics module whose serial
number has the suffix “B” to the optics module whose serial number has suffix “B”.
6. Be careful not to bend any of the pins. Tighten the locking screws on both cables.
7. Connect the square end of one of the USB Type-A to Type-B cables to the USB
connector on the rear panel of the electronics module labeled “A”. Connect the
rectangular end of the cable to a USB port on your host computer. (You will connect
the other electronics controller module later.)
Setting Up a VariSpec Filter — 13
Figure 8. 26-pin HD D-Sub cables connect to the VariSpec optics modules and electronics
controller modules; USB cables connect to the electronics module and computer
8. If you have not previously used a VariSpec USB filter on your host computer, it will
detect the presence of the filter and ask you to locate the USB driver file. If you have
the VariSpec CD-ROM in your disk drive, check the box indicating that you wish to
have the computer search the CD-ROM for the driver file(s). If you downloaded the
driver files from the web site, click Browse and select the location of the downloaded
and decompressed driver folder.
9. Once the driver files have been installed, your host computer should be able to
recognize the filter. You may notice a new COM port or two appear in the Device
Manager Ports list if your computer has previously assigned the COM ports to other
devices. You may close the Device Manager.
10. Now connect the other electronics module, as follows: Connect the second USB cable
to the USB connector on the electronics module labeled “B”. Connect the rectangular
end of the cable to a USB port on your host computer.
11. When this initial setup is complete, refer to “Using HyperTerminal™ for Manual
Control” on page 49 to learn how to control the dual-housing filter.
14 — Setting Up a VariSpec Filter
VsGui Program for Windows XP and Windows 7
The VsGui demonstration program on the host can be used to verify correct filter
operation and demonstrate the filter’s capabilities.
1. When launched (select Start > Programs > CRi > VsGui.exe), the VariSpec Control Panel
will appear (Figure 9).
Figure 9. VariSpec Control Panel
2. You may initially receive an error message saying that software cannot connect to a
COM port (Error Code 104). If this occurs, click OK. Then click the Configure button to
open the VariSpec Configuration window (Figure 10).
3. Click the Auto-detect button to search for the correct virtual COM port. If not found,
you can manually select it; choose COM3, COM4, or COM5.
Figure 10. VariSpec Configuration Panel
4. Click the Close button when finished to return to the VariSpec Control Panel (Figure 9).
5. The VariSpec Control Panel lets you select a wavelength by manually entering a
wavelength in nm or by dragging the slider along a linear scale representing your
filter’s wavelength range. Your filter’s Serial Number and Firmware Version are
displayed and cannot be edited.
6. Click the Sweep button to open the Sweep window (Figure 11 on page 16). This
window lets you set a Wavelength Range and Step Size (in nanometers) for the filter to
cycle through. You can also set the amount of time you want the filter to remain at
each wavelength and whether or not you want the filter to cycle once or repeat
indefinitely.
Setting Up a VariSpec Filter — 15
Figure 11. VariSpec Sweep Panel
The VsGui program does not interface with commercial image-capture hardware, but the
underlying DLL can be used, along with the SDK, to create your own application. If you
want to write software to control the VariSpec filter using CRi’s DLL driver, refer to the
publication “Programmer’s Guide to VsDrvr”. The most recent revision of this installer
program can be downloaded from CRi’s web site at http://www.crii-inc.com.
16 — Setting Up a VariSpec Filter
Chapter 3
Controlling VariSpec Filters
Topics in this chapter:
•
•
•
•
•
Page
Components of the VariSpec SDK .................................................................... 17
Controlling VariSpec Filters with Direct Serial Commands.............................. 18
Error Codes........................................................................................................ 27
Programming Examples..................................................................................... 28
Controlling VariSpec Filters with Other Operating Systems............................. 30
Components of the VariSpec SDK
The VariSpec SDK is available on a Windows-compatible CD-ROM, as well as a
downloadable file from the CRi web site. The SDK consists of an executable installation
program (.EXE) with a name similar to “VsRev1p35.exe“, as well as support files in a
folder or ZIP-compressed archive.
Windows DLL
CRi provides a set of functions to control VariSpec filters, which may be called from C or
C++ programs. The package incorporates all aspects of filter communications, including
low-level serial routines. With these routines, you can address filters as virtual objects,
with little need for detailed understanding of their behavior. This simplifies the
programming task for those who want to integrate VariSpec filters into larger software
projects. See the documentation that comes with the SDK for more detail.
Controlling VariSpec Filters — 17
National Instruments® LabVIEW™ Sub-VIs
CRi provides five sub-VI (virtual instrument) files for basic control of VariSpec filters.
The .VI files may be copied to the user library directory within LabVIEW and then
accessed from the functions palette to drag and drop into higher-level VI’s. A “VS Getting
Started” VI is also supplied, in order to illustrate a way to interconnect the lower-level
sub-VI files.
MATLAB® M-Files
CRi provides a set of MATLAB m-files to control VariSpec filters. There is a core support
.DLL file and a series of “.m” functions.
VsGui Program for Windows XP Professional and Windows 7 (32-bit)
The CRi VsGui program is a Windows XP Professional and Windows 7 (32-bit)
compatible program that was written to demonstrate the capabilities of the VariSpec SDK.
The VsGui program requires that the proper USB driver files be present, as well as the
VsDrvr.dll be located in the same folder as the executable itself. The VsGui program is a
very good troubleshooting tool, since it can help confirm that the filter is working properly
with the host computer without the need to resort to using a terminal emulator to send
ASCII character-based commands to the filter.
Controlling VariSpec Filters with Direct Serial
Commands
This information is provided for standard single-housing models. See “Using
HyperTerminal™ for Manual Control” on page 49 for more information on dual-housing
models such as the LNIR-06-20, XNIR-09-20, VISR-0.25-20, and NIRR-0.75-20 filter
models.
Each filter module offers a USB interface. All serial commands sent through the USB
interface are ASCII text. The filter appears as a virtual COMx device, but the actual data
transmission occurs over the USB interface. The terminator is always <c/r>.
Note: Previous-generation VariSpec filters utilized an RS-232 interface with essentially
the same command set. However, these older filters had a slower response time
and needed supplementary power transformers. (See Legacy Hardware and
Software Considerations for additional information.) Table 4 on page 22 gives a
list of commands for the VariSpec filter.
Initialization
The VariSpec filter performs an initialization sequence automatically at power-up. A
listing of the commands performed during this sequence may be found later in this section.
For additional information on the commands used during initialization and power-up, see
the descriptions of the “E” and “I” commands.
18 — Controlling VariSpec Filters
Palette Commands
After the VariSpec filter has been initialized, there are two ways to select the passband
wavelength. The first is to issue a request to tune to a wavelength using the “W”
command. This is the easiest method with current-generation filters.
Another method is to define a “palette” of wavelengths. When a wavelength is added to a
palette as an “element,” the computer within the VariSpec filter module calculates the
required drive level for each tunable element within the optical portion of the filter, and
stores the result in a table. Once a palette is defined, any of its elements may be rapidly
accessed using the tabulated results. This results in a slight decrease in the amount of time
required for a tuning operation (perhaps one or two milliseconds), but not as much as for
previous-generation filters (tens to hundreds of milliseconds). The commands that provide
for palette definition, revision, and use are described in detail later in this section.
Palette elements can be addressed in any order desired. It is also possible to step through
the elements in a palette in sequence. When the last element is reached, the cycle
continues with the first element. This is useful when cycling through a sequence
repeatedly. Note that the palette commands have been retained more as a legacy feature
than for any real performance gain.
VariSpec XNIR-09-20 TTL Sync Port
The VariSpec XNIR-09-20 filter can be controlled using the TTL Sync port on the rear
panel of the electronics controller module. This allows the VariSpec filter to respond to
signals and synchronization pulses generated by cameras, shutters, and other equipment.
The TTL Sync port is a single-trigger detect line. It requires a TTL-level input, and
triggers on the downward edge of the pulse. The connection is a standard BNC jack.
Six control modes are possible, listed in the table below. In practice, only Modes 0 or 4
should be used. The Control Mode is selected by using the “M” command.
• Mode 0 cycles the filter sequentially through the palette of wavelengths, triggered by
receipt of pulses at the TTL Sync port. When the last palette element is reached, the
sequence continues with the first element 0. Before you can use the TTL Sync port
in this mode, you must define a palette containing elements (i.e. the wavelengths of
interest).
• Mode 4 executes a wavelength step upon receipt of pulses at the TTL/Sync port.
This is useful for performing a spectral scan with a fixed step size. Before you can
use the TTL Sync port in this mode, you must define the wavelength step increment
(in nm) using the “J” command.
• Modes 1, 2, 3, and 5 are reserved. Do not implement these modes as they may cause
unexpected results. In all hardware modes, the hardware control ports can be enabled
or disabled using the “G” command. This configures the VariSpec hardware so that
action is taken only after a specified number of sync or strobe pulses are received.
This is useful when integrating a specified number of video frames, for example, at
each filter setting. See the description of the “G” command later in this section.
Controlling VariSpec Filters — 19
TABLE 1. Control Modes
Mode
Description
Wavelength or
Palette Access
Random or
Sequential
Trigger Source
0
Cycle palette on sync
Palette
Sequential
Sync
1
Reserved
N/A
N/A
N/A
2
Reserved
N/A
N/A
N/A
3
Reserved
N/A
N/A
N/A
4
Wavelength sweep on sync
Wavelength
Sequential
Sync
5
Reserved
N/A
N/A
N/A
LED Behavior
If the VariSpec filter receives an incorrect communication, the Status LED turns Red and
an Error Code is recorded. Error Code can be read out using the “R” command as
described later in this section. The LED remains lit Red until the error is cleared, but
subsequent commands are processed normally. CRi recommends first retrieving the Error
Code and then clearing the error condition before proceeding.
TABLE 2. Status LED Function
State
Meaning
green
no errors; currently not sending or receiving data
blinking green
no errors; data being sent / received
red
an error has occurred; currently not sending or receiving data
blinking red
an error has occurred; data being sent / received
Putting the VariSpec Filter to Sleep
A filter can be put to sleep using the “S” command and awakened using the “A”
command. All other commands and queries are ignored when the filter is asleep.
Wavelength and other settings are retained upon awakening, if they were previously
defined. The TTL Sync port is serviced, if active. Characters are echoed, even if asleep.
Note: Previous-generation VariSpec filters could be daisy-chained using a single RS232 port, or used with other devices having similar sleep capability.
Escape, Status-Check, and Busy-Check Characters
There are three special characters: the Escape <esc> character “ASCII 27”; the StatusCheck character “@”; and the Busy-Check character “!”. These are processed
immediately, before all pending commands, provided that the filter is awake. There is no
need for a terminator for these characters.
The Escape character stops any command in process, and clears all characters from the
USB command queue. This allows you to abort an extended operation or to belay pending
commands.
20 — Controlling VariSpec Filters
The Status-Check character “@” provides various information on filter status. The
VariSpec filter responds with a single, printable ASCII character response. Each bit in the
response character indicates something about the filter status, listed in the table below.
The Busy-Check character “!” tests whether the VariSpec filter has completed all pending
commands. If done, it responds with the “>” character. If busy with pending commands, it
responds with the “<” character.
TABLE 3. Status-Check Characters
Bit
Description
Meaning, if 0 / 1
8 (msb)
Reserved
Always 0
7
Reserved
Always 1
6
Error status
None / Error pending
5
Terminator
Always 0
4
Brief Mode
Normal / Brief or Auto
3
Palette defined
None / Defined
2
Exercised?
No / Yes
1
Initialized?
No / Yes
Command Nomenclature
Several commands are available to control the VariSpec filter. Each command has a oneletter key, and can usually be used as a command or as a query.
In the following descriptions, <arg> can be a number value in fixed or floating-point
format, or the query character “?”. The command terminator, <term>, is the carriagereturn character, <c/r>. The separator, <sep>, is a comma or any white-space character.
Arguments in curly brackets are optional and may not be required for all forms of the
command. Error handling is noted for each command.
All wavelengths are specified in nanometers, and need not be integral. Resolution is
numerically limited to 0.001 nm, which generally exceeds the filter’s optical tuning
resolution.
The standard response format is: the command letter (uppercase), followed by the
response value, then the <term> character. The format for wavelengths is xxxx.yyy. Most
other response values are integers, xxxxxx. Values are right justified, with leading spaces,
rather than leading zeros.
Brief and Auto-Confirm Formats
Each VariSpec electronics controller module can use a Brief Format when replying to
queries, to decrease the number of characters sent. When the Brief Format is selected, the
command key letter and all leading spaces are omitted.
Another format is provided, called Auto-Confirm format. When this is selected, the
VariSpec filter replies to each command with the new value of the parameter that was set.
This confirms that the command was received and processed. The Brief Format or the
Controlling VariSpec Filters — 21
Auto-Confirm format is selected using the “B” command, described later in this section.
Upon power-up the VariSpec filter uses the normal format.
Table of Commands
TABLE 4. Commands
Command
Default Value
Function or Purpose
A(waken)
0 (awake)
Re-activate sleeping filter for USB control
B(rief)
0 (normal)
Select Normal, Brief, or Auto-Confirm Format
C(lear)
Clear palette of all elements (wavelength entries)
D(efine)
Define palette element with specified wavelength
E(xercise)
Exercise filter to prepare for use
G(o)
1 (enabled)
Enable or Disable TTL/Sync port (XNIR-09-20 model only)
I(nitialize)
1 (initialized)
Perform initialization sequence
J(ump)
5.00 nm
Set wavelength increment used in Mode 4
M(ode)
0
Select hardware Control Mode
P(alette)
255 (undefined)
Set filter to transmit selected palette element
R(eset)
Reset Status LED and clear Error condition
S(leep)
0 (awake)
V(ersion)
W(avelength)
Make filter inactive, unresponsive to commands
Query the firmware revision and configuration
Depends on filter Set wavelength to transmit specified wavelength (nm)
type
eX(ecute)
Simulates trigger at TTL port
Y(temperature)
Query temperature of LC elements of optics module
Descriptions of VariSpec Serial Commands
Awaken
A <arg> <term>
Command: awakens filter with ID number given by <arg>. The ID number is the
filter’s 5-digit serial number, such as 50527, 50782, etc.
Legal <arg> values: [0 - 65535]
Query reply: 0 if awake, no reply if asleep
Note: It is bad practice to query the awake/sleep status, as a sleeping filter will not reply.
22 — Controlling VariSpec Filters
Brief
B <arg> <term>
Command: If <arg> is 0, it selects the VariSpec filter’s normal format for replying
to queries. If <arg> is 1, it selects the brief format. If <arg> is 2, it selects the autoconfirm format. At power-up, the default is to use the normal format.
In Brief format, the VariSpec filter does not echo the command letter, and omits
all leading spaces. Thus the normal reply
M 1<term>
becomes, in brief format,
1<term>
In auto-confirm format, replies are made every time a command is received. This
is different from normal and brief mode, which only reply to queries. The autoconfirm mode replies include the command letter and spaces, like the normal
format.
Legal <arg> values: [0, 1, 2]
Query reply: 0/normal, 1/brief, 2/auto-confirm
Clear Palette
C <arg> <term>
Command: clears the entire palette if <arg> is nonzero. It is not possible to
selectively clear elements using the “C” command.
Legal <arg> values: [0, 1]
Query reply: 0
Define Palette Element
D <arg0> {<sep> <arg1>} <term>
Command: define palette with wavelength given by <arg0>. It is added to the end
of the palette, unless <arg1> is given. In that case, palette element <arg1> is
assigned a wavelength of <arg0>. Palette elements must be defined sequentially.
If <arg1> points past the end of the palette, a fault is generated and no action is
taken.
The palette table uses 0-based indexing, so the first palette element is number 0,
the next is number 1, and so on.
Legal <arg0> values: set by optics wavelength limit
Legal <arg1> values: [0 - last palette element]
Query reply: The unit responds with the number of elements defined, followed by
all palette elements in sequence, separated by end-of-line terminators. So, if three
elements were defined as 450 nm, 550 nm and 650 nm, the reply would be:
D 3<term>
D 450<term>
D 550<term>
D 650<term>
Controlling VariSpec Filters — 23
In brief format, the response would be:
3<term>
450<term>
550<term>
650<term>
Exercise
E <arg> <term>
Command: exercises the filter <arg> times. This places the liquid crystal elements
into a known state. An <arg> of 3 is sufficient to fully exercise the optics at room
temperature. If the filter has been powered off for only a few minutes, an <arg>
value of 1 can be used. Each cycle takes about 12 seconds.
Legal <arg> values: [0 - 255]
Query reply: number of E cycles pending
Go/Stop TTL Sync Port
G <arg> <term>
Command: this selects whether service of the TTL Sync port is enabled, and
selects the dwell time, in trigger pulses, at each setting. If <arg> is 0, service of the
TTL Sync port is inhibited (stopped). This means that the wavelength is fixed at
its present value, regardless of activity at the TTL Sync port, unless changed
explicitly by the “P” or “W” commands.
If <arg> is positive, service is enabled, and the system dwells <arg> pulses at each
setting. So, if “G” is set to 4, and the electronics module is in sequential mode 0, it
advances to the next palette element every four sync pulses. At power-up, G is
enabled and set to a value of 1.
Legal <arg> values: [0 - 255]
Query reply: current hardware service value
Initialize
I <arg> < term>
Command: initializes the VariSpec filter if <arg> is nonzero. The electronics
module needs to perform an initialization sequence, which takes less than 1
second before it is ready to tune properly. Note that older RS-232 units and USB
units may take 30 seconds or longer for the sequence to complete its cycle.
This is performed as part of the automatic power-on sequence, so it is not
necessary to request another initialization when the filter is operating, unless it has
been more than 8 hours since the last initialization, or if the filter module’s
temperature has changed more than 3-degrees Centigrade.
Legal <arg> value: [ 1 ]
Query reply: 1 if initialized, 0 otherwise
Jump
J <arg> <term>
Command: defines the wavelength jump size. The jump can be positive (jump
towards the red) or negative (jump towards the blue). The controller jumps this
24 — Controlling VariSpec Filters
amount from its present wavelength, upon receipt of an eXecute command or an
external hardware trigger pulse in mode 4. At power-up Jump is set to 5.00. The
jump step can be any value consistent with the tuning range of the filter, given the
specifications.
Legal <arg> values: determined by filter optics
Query reply: present jump size in nm
Mode Select
M <arg> <term>
Command: set the Control Mode. Legal modes are 0 (sequential on sync) and 4
(move wavelength step on sync).
Mode 0 is sequential. The filter changes wavelength upon receipt of the sync
pulse. In Mode 4, the filter steps in wavelength as set by the “J” command,
triggered by the sync signal.
Legal <arg> values: [0, 4]
Query reply: present mode
Palette Select
P <arg> <term>
Command: go to palette element <arg>. If that element is undefined, an error is
generated and the Status LED is lit Red. The palette uses 0-based indexing, so the
first element is element 0.
You may also use the “>” character as <arg>, to request the next palette element;
or the “<” character, to request the previous palette element.
Legal <arg> values: [0 - 127], “<”, “>”
Query reply: present palette element number; 255 if palette element undefined
Reset
R <arg> <term>
Command: resets any pending fault conditions if <arg> is nonzero. This also
resets (to green) the Status LED if it is lit Red on the front panel. It is a good idea
to send an <esc> before sending the “R” command, if previous commands were
garbled in transmission. The <esc> clears the VariSpec communications buffer
and insures the “R” command is received properly.
Legal <arg> values: [0 or 1]
Query reply: 0 if no fault, error code otherwise
Sleep
S <arg> <term>
Command: puts filter to sleep with ID number given by <arg>. The ID number is
the filter’s 5-digit serial number, such as 50527, 50782, etc.
Legal <arg> values: [0 - 65535]
Query reply: 0 if awake, no reply if asleep
Controlling VariSpec Filters — 25
Note: it is bad practice to query the awake/sleep status, as a sleeping filter will not
reply.
Version
V <arg> <term>
This can be issued only as a query. It returns the VariSpec firmware revision
number and other configuration data, in the following format:
v_ _ _ rrr_ _bbbb.bb_ _tttt.tt_sssss
where rrr is the firmware revision level; bbbb.bb (no leading spaces or leading
zeroes) is the shortest wavelength the filter can tune to, in nm; tttt.tt is the longest
wavelength the filter can tune to, in nm; and sssss is the serial number.
Note: each underscore represents one space between characters.
Legal <arg> values: Query only
Query reply: revision and configuration data as described above
Wavelength Select
W <arg> <term>
Command: tunes the filter to wavelength <arg>. The legal range of <arg> is determined by the optics module’s construction and electronics module’s configuration. If <arg> is out of range, it causes an error and lights the Status LED Red.
You can send “>” as the <arg>. This causes the filter to step to a wavelength
longer than the one to which it is presently tuned. The step size is set by the “J”
command. Similarly, if the “<” character is given as <arg>, the filter steps to a
wavelength shorter than the one it is presently tuned to.
Legal <arg> values: [set by optics], “>”, “<”
Query reply: present wavelength in nm
eXecute
X <arg> <term>
Command: issuing this command with <arg> nonzero is equivalent to sending a
trigger pulse to the TTL Sync port, which is available on the electronics controller
box of the XNIR-09-20 model. See “VariSpec XNIR-09-20 TTL Sync Port” on
page 19 for detailes on setting the appropriate control mode. It causes the filter to
jump to the next palette element, or shift the pass wavelength by an amount set by
the Jump command, depending on the mode selected. (See the M command,
“Mode Select” on page 25.)
Legal <arg> values: [0-255]
Query: 0
Temperature of LC elements in optics module
Y <arg> <term>
This can be issued only as a query. It returns the temperature of the liquid crystal
elements of the VariSpec optics module in centigrade.
Legal <arg> values: Query only
26 — Controlling VariSpec Filters
Query reply: temperature of LC elements in
optics module in centigrade
Escape
<esc> (ASCII character code 27)
This character is processed immediately, with no need for a <term> character. The
VariSpec filter stops processing all pending commands immediately. All
characters in the communications buffer are erased, and the input buffer is reset.
There is a latency of up to 20 milliseconds before the unit returns to the “idle”
state.
There is no response if the unit is asleep, but the <esc> character is echoed like
any other.
Status Check
@
This character is processed immediately, with no need for a <term> character. The
VariSpec filter responds with a status character, whose bits indicate various status
information about the filter. The table of character bits is located at the beginning
of this section, Table 3 on page 21, (Escape, Status-Check, and Busy-Check
Characters).
There is no response if the unit is asleep, but the “@” character is echoed like any
other.
Busy Check
!
This character is processed immediately, with no need for a <term> character. The
VariSpec filter responds with “<” if it is busy (processing other commands), or
with “>” if it is idle (no pending commands).
There is no response if the unit is asleep, but the “!” character is echoed like any
other.
Error Codes
When an error occurs, the VariSpec filter records an error code. This code is stored until
the error is cleared using the “R” command, or until another error occurs. At that point, the
error code changes to reflect the new error condition. The code can be read by querying
the “R” parameter.
Errors can be caused by syntax errors, impossible argument values, or issuing commands
before other, supporting commands have been performed. An example of this last type
would be an attempt to tune to a palette element when no palette element has been defined.
Many of these errors do not interfere with the processing of subsequent commands, and
the VariSpec filter continues to process commands even while an error is pending. Those
errors listed as (internal) are usually caused by problems internal to the VariSpec filter,
rather than commands sent to it.
Controlling VariSpec Filters — 27
TABLE 5. Error Codes
Code
Meaning
0
No errors pending
1
Syntax error
2
Attempt was made to set a read-only parameter
3
“E” (exercise) command was issued with illegal <arg> value
4
Attempt to set wavelength or palette while filter is uninitialized
5
“I” (initialize) command issued with illegal <arg> value
6
Mode error
7
“M” (mode) command issued with illegal <arg> value
8
Error calculating liquid crystal drive levels (internal)
9
Palette not defined
10
Palette not prepared (internal)
11
Palette element out of range
12
Wavelength out of range
13
Liquid crystal drive level out of range (internal)
14
Jump wavelength step too large
17
“G” (go) command issued with illegal <arg> value
*
Appears when the filter is set out of bounds, when initialization has not occurred, or
when the filter cannot tune to a specified wavelength (not necessarily out of range)
Programming Examples
Here are several examples of how the VariSpec filter may be programmed, using the USB
port and the command set described in the previous section. In the examples, commands
sent to the VariSpec are shown in bold text and replies from the VariSpec are shown in
normal text. Comments are placed within braces.
Example 1. Tuning by wavelength
In this example, a VIS-model VariSpec filter is controlled by a host computer using the
USB port. This presumes that the proper USB driver files have been installed. The optics
in this case can tune from 400 nm to 720 nm.
{plug VariSpec filter into
USB port and wait until initialization is complete}
W ? <c/r>
{wait for reply}
W 550.000 <c/r>
{VariSpec filter is tuned to the default 550 nm for this particular
model}
28 — Controlling VariSpec Filters
W 500 <c/r>
{tune filter to 500 nm}
W 600 <c/r>
{tune filter to 600 nm}
W
{tune filter to 488 nm, altered spacing is okay}
488 <c/r>
W 900 <c/r>
{wavelength out of range, Status LED lights Red}
W ? <c/r>
{what wavelength is the filter currently set at?}
W 488.00 <c/r>
{filter stays at the last legal wavelength given}
R 1 <c/r>
{clear the Status LED and reset the error condition}
Example 2. Tuning with a palette
In this example, we set up a palette of wavelengths and then tune using the palette. The
preamble is the same as the previous example.
{plug VariSpec filter into USB port and wait until initialization is
complete}
W ? <c/r>
{wait for reply}
W 550.000 <c/r>
{VariSpec filter is tuned to the default 550 nm for this particular
model}
D 460 <c/r>
{define first palette element 0}
D 540 <c/r>
{define second palette element 1}
D 640 <c/r>
{define third palette element 2}
D ? <c/r>
{query what palette elements are}
D 3 <c/r>
{number of elements}
D 460.000 <c/r>
{wavelength of element 0}
D 540.000 <c/r>
{wavelength of element 1}
D 640.000 <c/r>
{wavelength of element 2}
P 0 <c/r>
{tune to element 0}
W ? <c/r>
{query pass wavelength}
W 460.000 <c/r>
{wavelength is 460 nm}
P 2 <c/r>
{tune to element 2}
W ? <c/r>
{query pass wavelength}
W 640.00 <c/r>
{wavelength is 640 nm}
D 550 1 <c/r>
{change element 1 wavelength to 550 nm}
W ? <c/r>
{query pass wavelength}
W 640.000 <c/r>
{filter is still at old 640 nm wavelength}
P 1 <c/r>
{tune to element 1}
W ? <c/r>
{query pass wavelength}
W 550.000 <c/r>
{wavelength is 550 nm}
Controlling VariSpec Filters — 29
Example 3. Cycling through various wavelengths using the TTL Sync port
on the XNIR-09-20
Here we define a palette and then use a 10 Hz TTL signal generator at the TTL Sync port
to cycle through the palette elements in sequence.
{plug VariSpec filter into USB port and wait until initialization is
complete}
W ? <c/r>
{wait for reply}
W 550.000 <c/r>
{VariSpec filter is tuned to the default 550 nm for this particular
model}
G 0 <c/r>
{disable sync}
D 460 <c/r>
{define first palette element 0}
D 540 <c/r>
{define second paletteelement 1}
D 640 <c/r>
{define third palette element 2}
P ? <c/r>
{query present element}
P 255 <c/r>
{palette code for “palette element undefined”}
{attach TTL signal generator to TTL Sync port, set rep rate
at 10 Hz}
M 0 <c/r>
{select mode 0, sequential on sync port signal}
P ? <c/r>
{query present element}
P 255 <c/r>
{palette code for “palette element undefined”}
G 1 <c/r>
{enable sync port service for every pulse}
{filter cycles through the palette at 10 Hz}
G 2 <c/r>
{enable sync port service for every second pulse}
{filter cycles through the palette at 5 Hz}
P ? <c/r>
{query present element}
P 1 <c/r>
{element will be 0, 1, or 2, depending on timing}
{filter continues to cycle through the palette at 5 Hz}
Controlling VariSpec Filters with Other Operating
Systems
CRi does not directly support the use of VariSpec filters on operating systems other than
Windows XP Professional or Windows 7. However, VariSpec filters can be controlled
using other operating systems when the appropriate drivers are used. USB drivers are
available for Apple Mac OS X and Linux. Contact CRi for further information.
30 — Controlling VariSpec Filters
Chapter 4
Frequently Asked Questions &
Troubleshooting
FAQs
I want to clean the glass surface of the VariSpec optics module from fingerprints
and other debris. How do I clean it?
Use a compressed air can to clean surface dust off the glass surfaces. Hold the can
upright so that no freezing-temperature liquid comes out. If the glass surface has
fingerprints or other residue, use isopropyl alcohol or commercial lens cleaner. You
may also try distilled water or spectroscopic-grade methanol. Minimize the use of
commercial glass cleaners containing ammonia, since the anti-reflective (AR)
coatings may be damaged over time.
Use gloves and apply the cleaning solution to lint-less lens tissue. Drag-wipe over the
surface and discard the tissue. Repeat if necessary. Do not press down on or rub the
glass surface, since the AR coatings may be damaged.
How large an aperture can I buy?
VIS filters come in 22 mm and 35 mm apertures. All others come in 22 mm apertures.
See the current Configuration List for a full list of available filter models.
What is your definition of bandwidth?
The Full-Width at Half-Maximum (FWHM), measured as the spectral separation
between the two points where the filter’s transmission attains 50% of the peak value.
The passband center wavelength is the wavelength midway between these two points.
VariSpec filters come in a variety of bandwidths, which are set during the design and
manufacturing process and are not adjustable by the customer.
Nominal bandwidth is measured at a wavelength about halfway within the wavelength
range of the particular filter: e.g. 550 nm for VIS models and 850 nm for SNIR
Frequently Asked Questions & Troubleshooting — 31
models. The actual width of the passband is constant in terms of center wavenumber,
but varies in terms of center wavelength such that a center wavelength selected closer
to the blue will have a narrower passband width than a center wavelength selected
closer to the red.
What is the transmission of the filters?
The percentage of linearly polarized light, oriented so that maximum transmission is
attained, passing through the filter relative to the amount that entered. Since the
entrance element of the VariSpec filter is a linear polarizer, transmission of randomly
polarized light is half that of linearly polarized light in the correct orientation.
VariSpec transmission is wavelength dependent. Typical spectral curves taken across
the wavelength range of each type of filter are available from CRi in graphical form.
Contact CRi for more information.
What is the tuning speed of the filters?
Several factors affect this number, including the liquid crystal relaxation time from
“charge” to “no charge” states under various ambient temperatures and the calculation
time of the electronics, which must send the correct voltages to each liquid crystal
element for each change. Typically, this time is 50 ms to 150 ms.
Current filters utilize a USB serial interface. These filters also utilize a fast
microprocessor to calculate the necessary voltages in order to control the liquid crystal
(LC) elements inside the optics module. Older filters with an RS-232 interface used a
previous-generation microprocessor that required much longer times to calculate these
voltages-sometimes hundreds of milliseconds. Therefore, in order to minimize tuning
time, users would typically store wavelengths of interest (up to 128) in a palette using
the “D” commands. These commands remain, as a legacy feature, in the current
command set, but no longer result in significantly faster tuning speeds.
CRi has performed tests at various ambient temperatures to determine the typical
transition times of each model. Contact CRi for more detail.
What is the damage threshold of the filters?
The damage threshold for reasonably long-term exposure of the filters to VIS and NIR
energy is 500 mW/cm2. Note that the filters absorb light that you do not want to see or
otherwise detect. VIS filters have a near-infrared hot mirror to reflect some unwanted
near-infrared light, but longer wavelength near-infrared light, such as thermal energy,
can damage the filters. Keep in mind that many detectors, such as CCD or CMOS
sensors, may not be able to detect this energy. It is good practice to check the
temperature of the filter optics to make sure the tuning elements are not subjected to
excess heat.
Typically the epoxy and polarizing material will be damaged first, followed by the
coatings, glass, and the liquid crystal material itself.
The enclosure has been designed to withstand moderate impacts, but a major
component by weight of most VariSpec filter models is glass, so inadvertent impacts
can damage the filter. Nevertheless it is quite rare for a VariSpec filter to break in the
field.
32 — Frequently Asked Questions & Troubleshooting
Tests (such as CE testing) have shown the enclosure to be resistant to EMI.
Nevertheless, exposing the electronics to voltage spikes or sags or a large static
discharge can render the filter inoperable or, worse, damage the electronics.
I have two XNIR-09-20 filters, can I interchange the optics and electronics?
No. VariSpec Optics and electronics controller modules are a matched set with
configuration data unique to a particular optics module loaded into the memory of the
electronics module.
Can I use a longer 26-pin cable between the optics and electronics modules of the
XNIR-09-20 filter? Can I use a longer USB cable?
CRi does not recommend using a longer 26-pin cable, since the added length may
cause excessive signal loss, and hence transmission loss, in some models. Regarding
longer USB cables, the official USB specification limits the length to 3 meters.
What are the differences in LCTF and AOTF technology?
As described earlier, CRi VariSpec filters are Liquid Crystal Tunable Filter (LCTF)
designs. The liquid crystal (LC) material is a so-called nematic LC. Nematic LC is
used in many imaging applications such as liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors and
screens. Nematic material can be easily controlled using relatively low voltages and
responds consistently to repeated signals. Image quality is very high and the field-ofview is relatively wide (from 3.5-degrees to 7.5-degrees, depending on the model).
Although tunable filters can be manufactured using other designs to enable
wavelength tuning, CRi’s Lyot designs are among the most widely recognized and,
thus, the term LCTF is usually associated with VariSpec filters.
Acousto-Optic Tunable Filters (AOTF) use a crystal in which vibrational waves at
radio frequencies allow a single wavelength of light to pass. The wavelength of light is
a function of the frequency of the radio waves applied to the crystal. Transmission can
be high, but without the superior out-of-band transmittance performance of an LCTF.
There is also a so-called blur effect that can compromise the spatial imaging quality of
the filter in many applications. Very narrow bandwidth filters can be built-some as
narrow as CRi’s VISR or NIRR designs. Field-of-view is narrower than with VariSpec
LCTFs because of the requirements of the AOTF design. Tuning speeds can be as fast
as 20 microseconds because all that is required is that the radio waves penetrate the
crystal.
Do VariSpec filters polarize the light that passes through them?
Yes. Unpolarized light that enters the filter becomes linearly polarized, and the light
that exits the filter is linearly polarized. Of course, if the light entering the filter is
linearly polarized in the same orientation as the filter, efficiency is doubled as
compared with unpolarized light. Contact CRi if you would like to know the axis of
polarization for the entrance and exit apertures for a particular filter model.
Frequently Asked Questions & Troubleshooting — 33
When I connect the USB cable from the VariSpec filter’s Electronics Controller
module to my computer, Windows asks me where 'ftdibus.sys' and 'ftser2k.sys’ are.
What can I do? The filter does not seem to be recognized by the Windows operating
system.
Sometimes the Windows operating system’s Plug and Play feature for new devices
does not work entirely seamlessly. If you followed the directions to install the SDK
onto your computer and received no error messages during or after the installation,
those files should be located in: C:\Program Files\Cri\VariSpec\USB. Use the Detect
New Hardware wizard to browse to that location and select the appropriate file. After
the Detect New Hardware wizard is finished, the VariSpec filter should operate
normally as a new USB serial device.
I need a multispectral imaging system, and your VariSpec filter technology looks
ideal. But I don’t want to do any system integration. Do you have a turnkey
solution?
Yes. We also manufacture and sell the Nuance™ Multispectral Imaging System, the
R&D 100 Award-winning Maestro™ In-Vivo Fluorescence Imaging System, and the
Vectra™ microscope slide analysis system. Contact CRi for more information
(sales@cri-inc.com).
• Nuance systems can be used for a wide variety of brightfield and fluorescence
applications, including FISH and FRET experiments, multicolor
immunohistochemistry, general fluorescence or brightfield microscopy, tissue
microarray investigation, and high-content screening research. The Nuance optics
module is compact and robust, with standard C-mount coupling for easy
integration onto existing microscopes. A tripod socket is supplied for remotesensing, forensic, machine vision, or other macroscopic applications. A
workstation computer with Windows-compatible multispectral imaging software
is also included.
• Maestro systems are affordable, breakthrough instruments for fluorescence-based
in-vivo molecular imaging. Using multispectral acquisition and analysis, they
provide dramatically improved sensitivity, multicolor flexibility and quantitative
accuracy for both visible and near-infrared labels. The systems virtually eliminate
contrast-robbing autofluorescence, revealing otherwise invisible targets that
appear bright against a near-black background. This dramatic improvement in the
signal-to-noise ratio can increase sensitivity many fold, allowing much smaller or
fainter targets to be detected. A workstation computer with Windows-compatible
multispectral imaging software is also included.
• Vectra™ is the world's only multispectral fluorescence- and brightfield-capable
microscope slide analysis system. Vectra's pattern recognition-based scanning
rapidly acquires high-resolution multispectral images of samples on microscope
slides. Samples can be cultured cells, cell spreads, tissue sections or tissue
microarrays, stained with standard stains such as H&E or trichrome, or
immunofluorescence and immunohistochemical techniques. CRi's intelligent
scanning approach, based on multispectral imaging, pattern recognition and
machine learning, provides a more quantitative, more efficient and faster
34 — Frequently Asked Questions & Troubleshooting
approach to harness reliable data from slides, compared to approaches that use
color images acquired on whole-slide digital scanners. The Vectra system
incorporates CRi's powerful image analysis software, called inForm™, and CRi's
proprietary autofluorescence removal methodology. With this system, you can
separate up to five fluorophores from one another and autofluorescence without
cross-talk. The system is designed to perform batch processing of slides, up to 200
at a time, or for tissue microarrays.
Frequently Asked Questions & Troubleshooting — 35
36 — Frequently Asked Questions & Troubleshooting
Appendix A. System Specifications &
Dimensions
Operating Specifications
Note that these specifications represent typical VariSpec filters as of August 2010 and are subject to change.
Parameter
VariSpec VIS
VariSpec SNIR
VariSpec LNIR
VariSpec XNIR
VariSpec VISR
VariSpec NIRR
Wavelength range (nm)
400-720
650-1100
850-1800
1200-2450
480-720
650-1100
Bandwidth FWHM (nm)
7, 10, or 20
7 or 10
6 or 20
9
0.25 (best effort)
0.75 (best effort)
Working aperture (mm)
22 or 35
22
22
22
22
22
Angle-of-acceptance
(half-angle)
7.5 degrees
7.5 degrees
3.5 degrees
3.5 degrees
3.5 degrees
3.5 degrees
Optics response time
(ms) 1
50
150
150
50
150
150
Single
Single
Single: 20-nm
Dual: 06-nm
Dual
Dual
Dual
Single or dual-housing
design2
Wavelength accuracy
Bandwidth/8 +/- 0.5 nm
Bandwidth/8 +/- 0.5 nm
Bandwidth/8 +/- 0.5 nm
Maximum optical input
500 mW/cm2
500 mW/cm2
500 mW/cm2
Operating temperature
10-40 ºC
10-40 ºC
10-40 ºC
Storage temperature
-15-55 ºC
-15-55 ºC
-15-55 ºC
Computer interface
USB 1.1
USB 1.1
USB 1.1
USB bus-powered
USB bus-powered
USB bus-powered
Power supply
Weight
(excluding USB cable)
small aperture:
375 g
some weights are approximate
large aperture:
460 g
optics:
375 g
6 nm:
800 g
20 nm:
TBD
1015 g
electronics:
2 x 450 g
800 g
800 g
cable: 2 x 190 g
1. Optics response time depends on a number of factors including ambient temperature (colder temperatures cause the liquid crystal
material to become more viscous and slower to respond) and model (NIR models are slower to respond than VIS models). Older filters (with electronics designed with a RS-232 serial interface) used a microprocessor than was not as fast as newer versions and,
unless the palette function was utilized, might respond in 300 ms or more.
2. Dual-housing filters use two sets of optics. They must both be sent identical commands, but do not need to be addressed simultaneously. The XNIR-09-20 model uses two matched sets of Optics and Electronics modules.
System Specifications & Dimensions — 37
Mechanical Dimensions (Optics Module)
VariSpec 22 mm Aperture Standard Enclosure
DWG# MD15284
Figure 12. Exterior of a 22 mm Aperture Enclosure
VariSpec 22 mm Aperture Dual-Housing Enclosure
DWG# MD15285
Figure 13. Exterior of a 22 mm Dual-Aperture Enclosure
38 — System Specifications & Dimensions
VariSpec 22 mm Aperture Enclosure for the XNIR-09-20 Model
DWG# MA20415
Figure 14. Exterior of the Unique XNIR-09-20 Dual-Aperture Enclosure
System Specifications & Dimensions — 39
VariSpec Mounting Adapters for 22 mm Aperture Models
DWG# MM70226
Figure 15. Stainless Steel Insert — Default, Blank
DWG# MM70228
Figure 16. Stainless Steel Insert — Female C-mount
40 — System Specifications & Dimensions
DWG# MM70227
Figure 17. Stainless Steel Insert — Male C-mount
DWG# MM70229
Figure 18. Stainless Steel Insert — Male T-mount
System Specifications & Dimensions — 41
DWG# MI10408
Figure 19. 52 mm Camera Lens Thread Adapter
Standard 22 mm Aperture Filter Mounting Block
DWG# MM70225
Figure 20. VariSpec Mounting Block for 20 mm Aperture Filters
42 — System Specifications & Dimensions
VariSpec 22 mm Aperture Enclosure for the LNIR-20-20 Model
DWG# MD15369
Figure 21. Exterior of the Unique LNIR-20-20 Enclosure
VariSpec 35 mm Aperture Enclosure
DWG# MD15470
Figure 22. Exterior of a 35 mm Aperture Enclosure
System Specifications & Dimensions — 43
Dovetail Spacer
DWG# MM70226-LA
Figure 23. Dovetail Spacer, Large Aperture
Dovetail C-Mounts
DWG# MM70228-LA
Figure 24. Dovetail, Female C-Mount, Large Aperture
44 — System Specifications & Dimensions
DWG# MM70227-LA
Figure 25. Dovetail, Male C-Mount, Large Aperture
DWG# MI10846
Figure 26. Dovetail, T-mount
System Specifications & Dimensions — 45
Electronics Controller Module
Waiting for ME35036-VS from Paul
DWG# ME35036
Figure 27. Electronics Controller Module (for the XNIR-09-20 model only)
Optics-to-Electronics Cable
DWG# MC30098
Figure 28. End Connectors of the 26-pin HD Cable with Specified Length (for the XNIR-09-20 model only)
46 — System Specifications & Dimensions
Appendix B. Operating Considerations
This section supplies operating considerations with which you should be familiar to
maximize the operation of your VariSpec filter.
Variation of FWHM with Pass Wavelength
The bandwidth of the VariSpec filter is defined as the full-width at half-maximum
(FWHM) of the transmission curve. As with all Lyot filters, its bandwidth is constant in
wavenumber as the filter is tuned. That means that the FWHM varies with wavelength as
λ2. This property is intrinsic to all types of Lyot filters. Except for this inherent bandwidth
variation, the bandwidth of the VariSpec filter is fixed and cannot be adjusted in the field.
Bandwidth Center Across Angle-of-Acceptance
For standard, single-housing models, the bandwidth uniformity is specified over a 7.5degree (half-angle) viewing cone, to the normal of the optical surface, and within this cone
the passband center does not deviate more than the specified amount. For dual-housing
models, the bandwidth uniformity is specified over a 3.5-degree (half-angle) viewing
cone. The shift is not the same as for interference filters, where there is a blueshift with
increasing angle off-axis.
For the VariSpec filter, the deviation of the curve has a saddle shape. Maximum chromatic
shift to the blue occurs for shifts in altitude, maximum chromatic shift to the red occurs for
shifts in azimuth, while isochromatic contours are found along the lines at +/- 45º where
altitude = +/- azimuth.
Response Time versus Tuning Wavelength
There is no simple relationship between the response time to change from one wavelength
to another wavelength. Because of the way the filter is tuned, some wavelengths request
tuning of more LC elements than others, resulting in shorter or longer tuning speeds.
Thermal Drift and Re-Initialization
The VariSpec filter has a slight drift when the optics module temperature changes. This
results in a slight wavelength error, in absolute terms. If the ambient temperature has
changed by more than 3 ºC, you can issue the “I 1” or retune the filter to force it to
recalculate the drive levels.
Operating Considerations — 47
Response Time versus Temperature
The liquid crystal variable retarders set the response time of the filter, and their viscosity
varies with the temperature. At 35 ºC, the viscosity is only half its 20 ºC value, allowing
faster operation in a warm environment. Elevated temperature use is the single easiest way
to improve the response speed. Similarly, if the optics is cooler than 20 ºC, the response
time is longer than that given in the Specifications.
Fringing in Coherent Light
The optical module contains several dozen optical elements, cemented together with
index-matching epoxies, and in many cases, coated with thin film coatings. As a result,
there is spatial fringing when the light being sent through the filter has a coherence length
greater than 75 microns. Generally, this is not a problem except when using laser sources,
atomic (mercury) lamps, or inorganic fluorescence phosphors. In these cases, the light can
be intrinsically monochromatic enough to produce fringes.
Tuning Latency
When the VariSpec tuning is synchronized with an external signal via the TTL/Sync port
on the XNIR-09-20 model, there is a slight delay, or latency, before the electronics module
actually issues the signals to tune the filter. This latency comes about because of the need
to synchronize tuning operations with other processes being performed.
Latency delay does not materially affect the tuning speed. However, because the latency
depends on the exact task the electronics is performing when a tuning request is made, the
latency has some fluctuation or “jitter”. This jitter causes slight variations in the time to
tune to the desired wavelength.
Near-Infrared Warning
Visible-wavelength and a near-infrared wavelength filters do not respond the same to
infrared light. Infrared light causes heat. The great majority of energy in halogen lamps,
for example, is in the infrared band (perhaps 90% or more or the total output). VariSpec
VIS filters contain a dielectric hot-mirror that reflects this infrared energy away. So the
VIS filter is not heated by the infrared light. However, SNIR, LNIR, and XNIR filters do
not utilize a hot mirror and they receive all of this infrared energy and are heated by it.
There are two concerns when using an infrared light source: heat at the filter and heat at
the sample. For example, the LNIR-06-20 filter has a 6 nm bandwidth (FWHM) and
transmission of 30%. The total bandwidth for infrared light is 1200 nm. So the fraction of
light than passes to the sample is:
transmitted energy function = 0.30 * 6 nm / 1200 nm = 0.0015 or 0.15%.
That means the filter receives 6600 times more energy than the sample! This is one reason
why the filter may get hot, even though the sample may not.
48 — Operating Considerations
Given sufficient heat, delamination may occur. To cause delamination, two factors must be
present: heat and stress. Mechanical stress may be produced by the thermal expansion of
the LC cells and other components.
It seems remarkable, but heat can travel through an entire filter. We must distinguish
between heat transmission and optical transmission. The filter acts to stop light passing
through it, except for the desired wavelength. Energy is absorbed by the filter’s optics.
Heat can then easily travel through the filter by conduction. Note that the filter is enclosed
in an aluminum housing, and aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat.
Using HyperTerminal™ for Manual Control
The filters can be controlled using the HyperTerminal program (written by Hilgraeve and
distributed by Microsoft) that is included with many computers running Windows
operating systems.
1. Connect the filter to the computer and wait for it to finish initializing.
2. Launch the HyperTerminal program (usually
located in Start > Program Files > Accessories
> Communications > HyperTerminal). If it is
not present on your computer, you can install
it from your original Windows installation
CD-ROM using the Add/Remove Programs
feature in the Windows Control Panel.
3. The Connection Description window (Figure 29)
will appear. Enter a name and click OK.
Figure 29. Connection Description
4. In the Connect To window (Figure 30), choose a
COM port that corresponds to the virtual COM
port assigned to the filter.
Figure 30. Connect To
Operating Considerations — 49
5. In the COMx Properties window (Figure 31),
select the following settings:
Bits per second: 115,200 (9600 for the XNIR09-20),
Data bits: 8,
Parity: None,
Stop bits: 1,
Flow control: None.
Click the OK button.
Figure 31. COMx Properties
6. Select the Properties item from the File menu drop-down list. Click on the Settings tab
then the ASCII Setup... button
7. In the ASCII Setup window (Figure 32), select the
following settings:
“Append line feeds to incoming line ends” and
“Wrap lines that exceed terminal width”
8. Click the OK button to close the ASCII Setup... window.
Click the OK button to close the Properties window.
These settings make it easier to see the commands and
responses in the HyperTerminal window.
9. You may now type characters that will be sent to the
VariSpec filter each time the Enter or Return key is
pressed.
Figure 32. ASCII Setup
10. If you have a dual-mode filter, repeat steps 2 thru 6 for the second module. In order to
tune a dual-mode filter, “W” commands should be sent to each module. The
commands do not have to be sent simultaneously.
50 — Operating Considerations
Appendix C. Legacy Hardware and
Software Considerations
Optics and Electronics Controller Modules
Previous-generation VariSpec filters utilize an RS-232 serial interface. The rear panel of
the VariSpec electronics module features an RJ-12 connector and 18VAC 50/60 Hz AC
jack. Each filter requires an appropriate power transformer for the country it is to be used
in. The US and Japan transformer is an 18V, 880 mA model.
An RJ-12 straight-through modular data cable is plugged into the RS-232 connector. The
other end is plugged into an RJ-12 to DB-9 adapter for the host computer’s serial (COM)
port. COM port settings for legacy filters are identical to the COM port settings for current
USB filters: Bits per second: 9600, Data bits: 8, Parity: None, Stop bits: 1, Flow control:
None.
The form-factor of the optics modules for legacy filters may differ from the mechanical
drawings included in this publication.
Previous-generation filters utilized a much slower microprocessor for wavelength tuning
calculations. The use of palette functions is encouraged as a way to tune as fast as
possible, given a set of wavelengths of interest. Random tuning using the 'W' command
can result in transition times in the hundreds of milliseconds. Accessing a stored
wavelength using the palette commands results in much faster transition times from 50 ms
to 150 ms. Current filters with USB electronics always tune as fast as they are capable (at
a given ambient temperature). See the Specifications section.
Handheld Controller
A handheld controller that interfaces with the previous-generation filters using the RS-232
connector is available. Current filters that use the USB interface do not need this
accessory, since they can be installed and tested more easily using more recent software
releases and host computers with available USB ports.
Legacy Software
Software available from CRi prior to the release of filters with USB control consisted of
the following:
• CRiS3: an obsolete standalone program compiled using the LabVIEW programming
environment. Older LabVIEW sub-VIs were also available and are no longer
supported. Current, updated sub-VIs are available from CRi for those who wish to
use LabVIEW.
Legacy Hardware and Software Considerations — 51
• VSGui Software Developer’s Kit and demonstration executable (revisions prior to
1.2): an obsolete standalone program that will allow a programmer to use a CRiwritten Windows dynamically-linked library (DLL) to control the filter from the
CRi-written demonstration program or a user-written program. Current versions will
work with both present USB and most legacy RS-232 serial hardware.
Contact CRi if you have legacy hardware and/or software and wish to upgrade or purchase
new software or hardware.
52 — Legacy Hardware and Software Considerations
Appendix D. CRi Software End-User
License Agreement
The following is an agreement (the “Agreement”) between you and Cambridge Research
& Instrumentation Inc., 35-B Cabot Road, Woburn, MA 01801 (“CRi”) for software
known as the VariSpec Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) and its accompanying
documentation (collectively, the “Software”). By installing and/or using the Software, you
agree to the following terms and conditions. If you do not agree to all of the terms and
conditions in this Agreement, you may not install or use the Software.
1. Single Use License. The Software is licensed to you and not sold. Subject to the terms
and conditions of this Agreement, CRi hereby grants to you a restricted, non-exclusive,
non-transferable, non-assignable, non-sublicensable, and revocable license to use, for your
internal purposes only, the executable code version of the Software and the accompanying
documentation in hard copy or electronic format. CRI RESERVES ALL RIGHTS NOT
EXPRESSLY GRANTED BY THIS AGREEMENT.
2. Specific Restrictions. You may use the Software only on a single computer. You may
make only one (1) copy of the Software, solely for backup purposes. You may not
decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, alter, modify, translate, adapt, decipher, or
determine the source code or create derivative works of, the Software.
3. Ownership of Software. CRi and/or its suppliers own all right, title and interest,
including all copyrights, in and to the Software. The Software contains confidential
information and trade secrets of CRi. You (i) acknowledge, and agree not to contest, CRi’s
rights in the Software; (ii) agree not to disclose to anyone, or allow anyone access to, the
Software; and (iii) agree not to disclose any confidential information of CRi regarding the
Software or that is otherwise disclosed to you in connection with this Agreement.
4. Transfer Restrictions. The Software is licensed only to you. The Software may not be
transferred to anyone without the prior written consent of CRi. The terms and conditions
of this Agreement shall bind any CRi-authorized transferee of the Software. You may not
transfer, assign, rent, lease, lend, sell, grant a security interest in, sublicense or otherwise
dispose of the Software, on a temporary or permanent basis, except for a CRi-authorized
transfer as stated above.
5. Termination. The license granted in Section 1 above is effective until terminated. This
Agreement is conditioned upon your continued compliance with the terms and conditions
hereof and will terminate automatically without notice from CRi if you fail to comply with
any term or condition of the Agreement. Furthermore, CRi may terminate this Agreement
at any time upon thirty (30) days notice. Upon termination of this Agreement, you shall
immediately destroy all copies of the Software (including all accompanying
documentation) and any other confidential and proprietary information you have received
during or in connection with this Agreement.
6. Limited Warranty. CRi warrants that the media on which the Software is provided will
be free from defects in materials and faulty workmanship under normal use for a period of
CRi Software End-User License Agreement — 53
ninety (90) days from the date of delivery. Your exclusive remedy under this Section 6
shall be, at CRi’s option, a refund of the price paid for the Software or replacement of the
media on which the Software was provided so long as that media has been returned to CRi
under a CRi-issued return authorization. CRi shall have no responsibility to replace media
damaged by accident, abuse or misapplication.
7. No Other Warranties. EXCEPT FOR THE LIMITED WARRANTY STATED
IMMEDIATELY ABOVE, THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT
WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, AND CRI EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL
IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY WARRANTY
OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR
NONINFRINGEMENT OF THIRD PARTY RIGHTS. CRI DOES NOT REPRESENT
OR WARRANT THAT THE RESULTS OR THE USE OF THE SOFTWARE WILL BE
CORRECT, ACCURATE OR RELIABLE, OR THAT THE SOFTWARE WILL
OPERATE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, OR THAT DEFECTS IN THE
SOFTWARE WILL BE CORRECTED. YOU ASSUME ALL RISK ASSOCIATED
WITH THE USE, RESULTS AND PERFORMANCE OF THE SOFTWARE.
8. Limitation of Liability. IN NO EVENT SHALL CRi, ITS AFFILIATES OR
SUPPLIERS, OR THEIR RESPECTIVE EMPLOYEES, OFFICERS OR AGENTS, BE
LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO
USE THE SOFTWARE, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION INCIDENTAL,
SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE, EXEMPLARY, INDIRECT OR DIRECT
DAMAGES (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF
PROFITS, LOSS OF DATA, RE-RUN TIME, INACCURATE INPUT, WORK DELAYS,
BUSINESS INTERRUPTION OR ANY OTHER COMMERCIAL DAMAGES OR
LOSSES), WHETHER IN AN ACTION IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING
NEGLIGENCE AND STRICT LIABILITY) OR OTHERWISE, AND EVEN IF CRI
HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, AND
REGARDLESS OF WHETHER ANY REMEDY FAILS OF ITS ESSENTIAL
PURPOSE.
9. U.S. Government End Users. The Software qualifies as commercial computer
software for purposes of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) §52.227-19 and the
Department of Defense Supplement to the FAR (DFARS) §52.227.7013. If the Software is
acquired by a civilian government agency, it is furnished with only the minimum
Restricted Rights provided by FAR 52.227-19. If the Software is acquired by a military
agency, it is furnished with only the minimum Restricted Rights provided by DFARS
52.227-7013(c)(1)(ii).
10. Miscellaneous. This Agreement contains the entire agreement of the parties with
respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes any proposal or prior agreement,
written or oral, and any other communications between the parties relating to the subject
matter hereof. No modification or waiver of any provision of this Agreement shall be
effective unless in writing and signed by the parties. No delay or failure on the part of any
party in exercising any right under this Agreement shall impair any such right or any
remedy of such party, nor shall it be construed to be a waiver of any continuing breach or
default under this Agreement. In the event any provision of this Agreement is held to be
unenforceable, the remaining provisions of this Agreement will remain in full force and
effect. This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of New York without
regard to principles of conflicts of laws. Any disputes relating hereto shall be adjudicated
54 — CRi Software End-User License Agreement
only in the state or federal courts in New York County, New York State, and you hereby
consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of those courts. This Agreement shall not be governed
by the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, the
application of which is expressly excluded. You may not assign or otherwise transfer this
Agreement or any of your rights or obligations therein without the prior written consent of
CRi. You may not use the Software for any unlawful purpose nor export or re-export the
Software except as authorized by law.
Should you have any question concerning this Agreement, you may contact CRi by
writing to CRi, 35-B Cabot Road, Woburn, MA 01801. You may also call 1-800-383-7924
in the US or +1-781-935-9099 elsewhere.
CRi Software End-User License Agreement — 55
56 — CRi Software End-User License Agreement
VariSpec™ Quick Start Guide for a Windows®-based Host Computer
MD15473 Rev. B, August 2010
CRi supplies a Windows-compatible SDK installation CD-ROM with each VariSpec filter.
Included hardware drivers are specific to the Windows operating system. However, you may
contact CRi if you are interested in drivers for other operating systems.
These Quick Start instructions apply to standard single-housing filter designs. Dual-housing
designs have to VariSpec modules. The demonstration software does not support dual
module filters. But the existing drivers or LabVIEW sub-VIs can be used to write programs
fully capable of controlling these dual models. You can also use HyperTerminal or similar
terminal emulators to send the appropriate serial (ASCII character-based) commands to each
Varispec module.
Your host computer needs to be running Windows XP or Windows 7. Log in as an
Administrator to install the software. You must have a USB port available and the port must
be able to provide the standard USB power load. If you have multiple USB devices connected
to the same port through an unpowered USB hub, you may need to utilize a powered hub.
Installing VariSpec Software
1.
Unpack the VariSpec filter. Make sure that all components are present. Be careful with the
glass surfaces of the optics module, since they have anti-reflective (AR) coatings that might
be scratched if not handled carefully.
2.
DO NOT attach the VariSpec filter to your host computer until after you have installed the
appropriate USB drivers. Turn on the computer and allow it to boot into the Windows
operating system.
3.
Insert the CD-ROM containing the VariSpec demonstration and SDK software into the
computer’s CD-ROM drive. Or if you downloaded the installer, open the zip file.
4.
Locate the Microsoft installer file, most likely named something similar to “VsRev1p37.msi” or
“VsRev1p35.exe.” Double-click the executable to launch the Installation Wizard.
5.
Choose the “Full” installation type. Continue with the Wizard until you can click on the Finish
button to complete the installation.
Connecting the VariSpec Filter (except XNIR-09-20 models)
Reference the VariSpec User’s Manual if you are setting up an XNIR-09-20 model VariSpec.
1.
Connect the VariSpec filter to the computer using the included USB Type-A to Mini-B cable.
2.
The blinking LED indicates that the filter is initializing and exercising the liquid crystal (LC)
elements in the optics module and bringing the filter to a known state. For example, 550 nm in
the case of a visible-wavelength (VIS) model.
3.
If this is a first time installation, the computer should launch a Found New Hardware Wizard.
Click the Next button to proceed. (If the wizard did not start automatically, launch the New
Hardware Wizard from the Windows Control Panel.)
4.
Choose to “Search for a suitable driver for my device” and click the Next button. A Files Needed
window may appear. Windows may ask if it can install the software automatically or from a list
or special location. Choose “automatically or the CDROM/ installation folder” as the search
location. Windows should find a file on the CD-ROM named “ftdibus.inf.” Click Next. Windows
should then find a file named “ftdiport.inf.” Click Next and then click Finish. If Windows cannot
find the files, go back and manually locate the files.
5.
After the Add New Hardware Wizard has finished, you will see a new program group icon
appear: Start > Programs > CRi. This program group includes the demonstration software
“VsGui.exe” and a PDF copy of the User’s Manual.
VSGui Program for Windows XP and Windows 7
The VsGui demonstration program on the host can be used to verify correct filter operation and
demonstrate the filter’s capabilities.
1.
When launched (select Start > Programs > CRi > VsGui.exe), the VariSpec Control Panel will appear
(see figure).
CRi, 35-B Cabot Road, Woburn, MA, 01801, USA :: (Toll-Free US) 1-800-383-7924, (P) +1-781-935-9099, (F) +1-781-935-3388 :: sales@cri-inc.com :: www.cri-inc.com
VariSpec™ Quick Start Guide for a Windows®-based Host Computer
MD15473 Rev. B, August 2010
2.
You may initially receive an error message saying that software cannot connect to a COM
port (Error Code 104). If this occurs, click OK. Then click the Configure button to open the
VariSpec Configuration window (see figure).
3.
Click the Auto-detect button to search for the correct virtual COM port. If not found, you can
manually select it; choose COM3, COM4, or COM5.
4.
Click the Close button when finished to return to the VariSpec Control Panel.
5.
The VariSpec Control Panel lets you select a wavelength by manually entering a wavelength in
nm or by dragging the slider along a linear scale representing your filter’s wavelength range.
Your filter’s Serial Number and Firmware Version are displayed and cannot be edited.
6.
Click the Sweep button to open the Sweep window (see figure). This window lets you set a
Wavelength Range and Step Size (in nanometers) for the filter to cycle through. You can also set
the amount of time you want the filter to remain at each wavelength and whether or not you
want the filter to cycle once or repeat indefinitely.
7.
The VsGui program does not interface with commercial image-capture hardware, but the
underlying DLL can be used, along with the SDK, to create your own application. If you want
to write software to control the VariSpec filter using CRi’s DLL driver, refer to the publication
“Programmer’s Guide to VsDrvr”. The most recent revision of this installer program can be
downloaded from CRi’s web site at http://www.crii-inc.com.
Congratulations! You may now use the demonstration software to tune the VariSpec filter. The
software makes a great troubleshooting tool if you are writing your own software, or if you simply
wish to manually tune the filter.
Operational Notes:
• Unplugging the VariSpec filter from the physical USB connection will not harm it under
normal circumstances. But plugging it back into the USB port will require another
initialization cycle (about 30 seconds) in order for the filter to begin accepting and
processing commands. While the filter is initializing, a communications buffer will store
commands sent to it, for immediate processing once initialization has completed.
• The VariSpec filter has a transition time of approximately 50 ms for VIS models and 150 ms
for near-infrared (SNIR, LNIR, or XNIR) models. Selecting a faster interval between
selected wavelengths will result in the filter being placed into unknown and uncharacterized
transitional states. Transition time is affected by the ambient temperature: higher
temperatures allow the LC to become less viscous and faster. Nevertheless, always stay
within the recommended operating temperature and maximum input flux (500 mW/cm2 to
prevent damage to the LC.
• Longer or extended 26-pin cables may allow the VariSpec filter to function correctly, but if
the drive impulses utilized by the electronics controller box are too weak, you will see an
error condition of “Drive levels out of range.”
Older-model serial (RS-232) interface filters:
• You may utilize the software and SDK, as long as you remember that you must manually
select the COM port in the VariSpec Configuration window in the VsGui.exe program.
Technical Assistance:
Having difficulty setting up, operating,
or maintaining your VariSpec LCTF?
Contact your local CRi representative.
CRi's main US office hours are from
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern
Standard/Daylight Time), Monday
through Friday.
• Telephone (US Toll-Free):
1-800-383-7924
• Telephone (Worldwide):
+1-781-935-9099
• Facsimile (Worldwide):
+1-781-935-3388
• E-mail:
techsupport@cri-inc.com
CRi, 35-B Cabot Road, Woburn, MA, 01801, USA :: (Toll-Free US) 1-800-383-7924, (P) +1-781-935-9099, (F) +1-781-935-3388 :: sales@cri-inc.com :: www.cri-inc.com
Index
A
aluminum inserts, dimensions 44
angle-of-acceptance, specification 37
aperture dual-housing enclosure, 22 mm 38
aperture enclosure, 20 mm, XNIR 39
aperture enclosure, 22 mm, LNIR 43
aperture enclosure, 35 mm 43
aperture filter mounting block, 22 mm 42
aperture sizes 31
aperture standard enclosure, 22 mm 38
auto-confirm format 21
awaken command 22
B
bandwidth 3
bandwidth FWHM, specification 37
bandwidth, definition 31
brief command 23
brief format 21
busy check 27
busy-check character 20
C
camera lens thread adapter, 52 mm 8
CE test 5
center wavelength 3
clear palette command 23
command nomenclature 21
commands, table of 18
computer interface, specification 37
D
damage threshold of the filters 32
define palette element command 23
Disclaimers
design change 5
reproduction 5
distributors, CRi in the EU 5
dovetail spacer, VS, LA 44
E
electronics controller module 7
dimensions 46
entrance aperture 7
error codes 27
escape character 20
escape command 27
eXecute command 26
exercise command 24
exit aperture 7
F
features of VariSpec filters 2
filter module 7
frequently asked questions 31
fringing in coherent light 48
G
glossary of VariSpec LCTF terminology 3
go/stop TTL sync port command 24
H
hardware components 6
HD D-sub cable 8
HyperTerminal 49
I
InGaAs sensors 2
initialization 18
initialize command 24
J
jump command 24
L
LabVIEW 18
legacy considerations 51
LNIR 2
M
MATLAB 18
maximum optical input, specification 37
mode select command 25
mounting adapters, 22 mm 40
mounting block 8
Index — 59
mounting inserts 8
N
near-infrared warning 48
NIRR 2
O
off-axis performance 3
operating considerations 47
operating temperature, specification 37
Optics A port 8
Optics B port 8
optics response time, specification 37
out-of-band transmittance 3
P
palette commands 19
palette select command 25
passband 3
power supply, specification 37
programming examples 28
Q
quick start guide 57
R
reset command 25
response time 3
response time vs temperature 48
response time vs tuning wavelength 47
S
Safety
cautionary statements 4
operator and equipment 4
technical assistance contact 4
setting up the filter 11
silicon-based CCDs 2
sleep command 25
sleeping the VariSpec filter 20
SNIR 2
software developer’s kit (SDK) 9, 17
software license agreement 53
Specifications
mechanical dimensions 38
operating 37
status check 27
60 — Index
status-check character 20
storage temperature, specification 37
T
temperature of LC elements command 26
thermal drift/re-initialization 47
transmission 3
transmission of the filters 32
TTL Sync port 8
tunable birefringent filters 1
tuning accuracy 3
tuning latency 48
tuning speed of the filters 32
U
universal serial bus (USB) 6
USB port 8
USB Type-A to Type-B cable 7
user’s manual, about 4
V
VariSpec control modes 19
VariSpec LCTF 1
version command 26
VIS 2
VISR 2
VsGui program 15, 18
W
wavelength accuracy, specification 37
wavelength range, specification 37
wavelength select command 26
Windows DLL 17
working aperture, specification 37
X
XNIR 2
Warranty
CRi warrants its VariSpec LCTFs for a period of one (1) year from date of shipment against defects in
material and/or workmanship, provided its installation, application, and maintenance are within
specifications. Normal wearing parts are excluded. This warranty covers only items manufactured by CRi.
CRi will correct, by repair or replacement-at its option and its expense-any proved defects in items of its
manufacture, subject to above, provided immediate written notice of such defects is given.
A valid Return Materials Authorization (RMA) must be obtained by contacting CRi before items may be
returned to the factory. Repair or replacement will be provided F.O.B. (Freight On Board) at CRi’s factory.
The total financial obligation of CRi, under this warranty, does not exceed the purchase price of the items
of its manufacture as set forth on normal pricing schedules. We will not assume any expense or liability for
repairs made by others without our prior written consent.
This warranty is void and CRi will be free from all obligations hereunder if the items of its manufacture
have been misused, reprocessed or reused, repaired or modified without our written consent. CRi assumes
no liability for damages or injuries resulting from the misuse, misapplication, or unauthorized repair or
modification of its equipment.
We assume no liability to users of our equipment or to any other person or persons for special or
consequential damages of any kind and from any cause arising out of or in any way connected with the use
of the equipment. All warranty and post-warranty service is nontransferable from the original shipping
address to another without the prior written consent of CRi.
CRi, 35-B Cabot Road, Woburn, MA, 01801, USA :: (Toll-Free US) 1-800-383-7924, (P) +1-781-935-9099, (F) +1-781-935-3388 :: sales@cri-inc.com :: www.cri-inc.com
TO PLACE AN ORDER OR RECEIVE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
For more information, contact CRi or your local authorized CRi distributor:
Cambridge Research & Instrumentation, Inc. (CRi)
35-B Cabot Road, Woburn, MA, 01801, USA
(Toll-Free US) 1-800-383-7924, (Phone) +1-781-935-9099
(Fax) +1-781-935-3388 (Email) techsupport@cri-inc.com
VariSpec, Maestro, and Nuance are trademarks of Cambridge Research & Instrumentation, Incorporated.
Adobe and Acrobat are trademarks of Adobe Systems, Incorporated.
Apple and Mac are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Incorporated.
HyperTerminal is a trademark of Hilgraeve, Incorporated.
LabVIEW is a trademark of National Instruments Corporation.
Linux is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries.
Microsoft, Windows, and Excel are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other
countries.
All other trademarks mentioned in this publication are the properties of their respective owners.
© 2010 Cambridge Research & Instrumentation, Inc. All rights reserved.
Document Part No. MD15474 Rev. D, August 2010
CRi, 35-B Cabot Road, Woburn, MA, 01801, USA :: (Toll-Free US) 1-800-383-7924, (P) +1-781-935-9099, (F) +1-781-935-3388 :: sales@cri-inc.com :: www.cri-inc.com