Category : FAQ’s

Can a Simple Sensor Really Replace a Laser Beam Profiler?

So you need to profile your laser beam but are worried about the cost of a beam profiler? Or maybe you just think it will be too complex for your technicians?
BeamTrack is a laser power sensor that also measures beam size (PPS version only) and position (all versions).
My question: Can you use BeamTrack as an alternative to a full laser beam profiler?

Sort of.

It really depends on what you need to measure.

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Finding the center of the NanoScan

Finding the mechanical location of your laser beam can be important in some applications.

Using a NanoScan (Scanning Slit Beam Profiling) you can find a mechanical location of the center of your beam by following these steps:

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Laser measurement software from Ophir® can now measure laser power from anywhere! – Part 2

If you read our last blog post in the series, now you probably wondering – ‘How can I connect my EA-1 (Ophir’s Ethernet adopter) to StarLab laser measurement software?’
Well, not to worry – we’ve got that covered for you:

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How to choose the right sensor using the Ophir® Sensor Finder

Choosing the best laser sensor for a particular application can be quite overwhelming.
Ophir has so many sensors! Which is the best one for measuring your laser beam?
The choice actually depends on many parameters. The Ophir Sensor Finder does most of the thinking for you, and helps you choose the right sensor for your application. This video shows you how to use it:

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Technical Tip: How to select a power and energy meter – part 2

So, as we’ve started discussing the best way to pick a power meter last week, we’ve reached the third piece of data we need – and that is the laser wavelength. Why is it so important? In order to match it to the sensor absorber characteristics.

We need to select a sensor whose wavelength is within the measurement range of the sensor, power rating is equal to or higher than the maximum power we will measure, whose aperture is larger than the laser beam diameter so that it will contain the whole beam, and whose damage threshold is higher than the maximum expected laser power density at the given wavelength. The sensor absorber should be selected so it matches the wavelength for higher absorption.

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Technical Tip: How to select a power and energy meter – Part 1

Measuring optical power and energy depends on an understanding of the types of sensors and instruments available, and on requirements such as wavelength response, dynamic range, damage threshold, and maximum repetition rate.
Power and energy meters measure the output of an optical source. They are a necessity in a wide variety of applications in the lab, on the production floor, or in the field, whether the emission is from low-light sources, such as fluorescence, or from high-energy pulsed lasers.

No doubt that the need to accurately measure laser power and energy has increased as more of these systems are used in medical procedures and industrial processes.
Although a fairly simple process, this measurement is not as straightforward as an electric power measurement.
With lasers, more attention must be paid to the selection of the right sensor as different sensors perform different measurements.

Selecting the wrong sensor can result in inability to measure well or can even destroy the sensor.

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The trick to measure your (pulsed laser) peak power

If you’re involved with pulsed lasers, doing research, system design, process control, final test, or field service, you are going to want to accurately measure your laser power.
The more you know about the measurement process, the better the results.
However, most pulsed laser power meters display the total energy of a pulse or alternatively the average power, not the peak power.

As an Ophir customer you have the ability to measure the peak power of a pulsed laser beam using Ophir laser measurement equipment.

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What’s the Lowest Power I can Measure with My (Thermopile) Laser Power Detector?

3 Watts.

Just kidding, obviously this is going to be your favorite answer: “It depends.”
And it doesn’t just depend on the type of sensor you have or the specs of that sensor.

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Laser Beam Optics Calculators

A laser is a complicated animal.

Whether you’re a lab researcher or an industrial worker, there are several parameters you might need to calculate, such as power density or ideal focus spot size.
We’ve recently added a few calculators to our website. I hope these calculators make your work just a little bit easier.
We have five laser optics calculators (so far):

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Can You Really Measure Laser Beam Quality (M Squared) in Real Time?

M-Squared is arguably the single most important factor when determining the potential efficiency of your laser.

However, it can be a pain to measure.  Since the beam quality can be calculated only by taking several measurements along the laser beam caustic, you will typically need to move either the camera or laser source along its axis to get snapshots at different locations.

Here are two approaches you can use that actually DON’T move the camera or the laser:

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