Rotary voice-coil motors from computer hard disk drives make excellent mechanical shutters for light beams. However, the complexity of the necessary electronic driving circuit can hinder their application. A new design is presented here, using a single integrated circuit originally intended for controlling dc motors. A digital input signal switches a unipolar power supply bidirectionally through the voice coil. Short high-current pulses are generated on the transitions to ensure rapid shutter action, while a low holding current reduces the power requirement and heating of the actuator. The circuit can reverse the current to brake the shutter and reduce the impact at the end of its travel. With a focused laser beam, the shutter achieves rise times below 500 ns. A method for producing variable length pulses is also described, demonstrating durations as short as 700 ns.
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Brief Report| February 09 2007
Enhanced laser shutter using a hard disk drive rotary voice-coil actuator
R. E. Scholten; Enhanced laser shutter using a hard disk drive rotary voice-coil actuator. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 1 February 2007; 78 (2): 026101. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.2437199
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