Posted in | Light Sources

High-Performance Optical Shutter - SmartShutter®

The SmartShutter® is designed to complement Sutter Instrument’s growing line of optical products and puts forth a new standard for shutter reliability and performance. There are two or more “leaves” that rub against each other in the conventional shutter design.

Given time, the blades will wear down, bind, and the shutter will fail to open. The SmartShutter has been designed with just a single moving part, which almost eliminates the effects of wear and markedly enhances performance.

An additional issue in the conventional shutter design is the binding of leaves in extreme temperature conditions. The enhanced design of the SmartShutter uses heat resistant material that works well under extremely high temperature conditions, prolonging the life of the shutter.

The SmartShutter incorporates a new high-performance motor drive and precision stepper-motor in order to provide extra control and durability. Conventional shutters use a solenoid actuator requiring a high initial opening voltage enabling the shutter to open in a rapid manner.

This can result in overheating or burning out the coil of the shutter if the shutter is opened frequently. Sutter Instrument’s microprocessor controlled motor/wiper design, helps to control the trajectory of each move and optimizing the motion of the blade for smoothness or for speed.

The SmartShutter, in either the 35 mm or 25 mm version, works with open/close times of 8 msec from the command (3 msec from the start of motion). As Sutter Instrument’s robust design does not rely on over-driving the windings, it is possible to achieve continuous operation at specific frequencies up to 40 Hz for the 25 mm version and 20 Hz for the 35 mm model.

While the 25 mm SmartShutter® can function at frequencies up to 40 Hz, at some frequencies between 30 and 40 Hz, resonances may be excited which will prevent stable operation. This is usually corrected with a small adjustment in frequency.

SmartShutter® units tested for over 100 million cycles show no sign of failure as the shutter blade is stopped by the action of the motor rather than mechanical stops.

The standard SmartShutter blade is made of untreated aluminum. Non-reflective coatings are available upon request and are not recommended for use with arc lamps.

The microprocessor-based controller provides outstanding versatility and is adaptable to different modes of function and operation. It is possible to program the SmartShutter® for a variety of movement profiles or to produce a variable aperture by determining the degree of shutter opening.

When used in the Lambda LS xenon light source and coupled with a liquid light guide, the shutter functions as a programmable neutral density filter. In addition, while the impulse of the shutter is minimal, a “soft” action mode can be selected to reduce vibration.

The Lambda 10-B/IQ controller for the SmartShutter® has the potential of driving up to two shutters. This function is supported by supplying a TTL input for remote triggering of the shutter, as well as a TTL output to support remote triggering of external devices such as a camera.

The controller can also be operated remotely from a computer through either the USB or serial port, or locally (manually) from the controller keypad.

The Lambda SC, a dedicated single shutter controller, is also available. This unit is equipped with a serial port, USB port, TTL out and TTL in. The Lambda SC allows programmable control over the exposure time and the delay between trigger and shutter opening.

Originally designed to be integrated into Sutter Instrument’s 25 mm and 35 mm filter wheels, housings are also available for use with Sutter Instrument’s Lambda LS and Lambda DG-4/DG-5 optical products and for stand-alone units.

The modularity of the SmartShutter® guarantees that repairs, should they be necessary, are economical and simple.

Download the Brochure for More Information


  • Universal power supply
  • Modular repairable design
  • Continuous operation frequencies as high as 40 Hz
  • Microprocessor based controller
  • Selectable partial opening function for neutral density
  • Manual input via keypad (on LB10-B/IQ)
  • Stand-alone or use with Sutter filter wheel
  • Life tested to 100 million cycles
  • Patent No. 7,253,575
  • Serial, TTL and USB interfaces
  • Robust design
  • “Soft” action mode provides minimum vibration
  • Mountable in Lambda LS, Lambda XL, and Lambda DG-4/DG-5
  • Opening time 8 msec from trigger (for 25 mm and 35 mm versions)

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