Charged Particle Sources
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Optical table tops are indispensable equipment for optics and photonics research. They are made of very rigid materials such as steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber with minimum deflection so that the alignment of optical components remains stable over time. Usually, the material used for optical tables has a high speed of sound, and therefore a high frequency of the first eigenmode. Any lower-frequency vibrations applied to the table will not produce appreciable resonant responses, making the setup less sensitive to vibrations from motorized optics, cooling water pumps, etc. Breadboards generally perform similar functions to optical tables. They are not as good as optical tables, but weigh less and are adequate for smaller optical systems that do not require extremely high level of stability. For these reasons and due to their lower costs compared to optical tables, breadboards are often used in academic teaching and research labs.