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The sensor is large in order to 'catch' light coming out of the objective at large angles, it is most accurate when the light is centered on the surface – you should use the target on the backside of the sensor to position the sensor optimally.
This is easy with the PD300-MS all you need to do is place a drop of oil on the center of the sensor surface and immerse the objective lens in it. After measurement just wipe down the sensor and clean it for another use.
In the vast majority of applications, the “response time” of interest is indeed the time it takes for the signal to rise to 95% of its final value, and that is how we specify it. The last few percent of signal stabilization will generally take a bit longer, but they are normally not significant.
Specifically for higher-power fan-cooled sensors (much less so for conduction- or water-cooled sensors), it is a known behavior that the sensor quickly rises to 95% of full signal, less quickly up to 98% or 99%, and then takes long to reach that last 1% of full signal stabilization. For some of our higher power fan-cooled sensors (the FL600 series), you may notice that we also specify – in the “Notes” - the 0-98% and 0-99% rise times (approx. 30 sec and 2 minutes respectively). The last 1%, to reach 100% full signal rise, quite normally takes much longer; it is not unusual for it to take several minutes – but we have never actually been asked about that because it’s normally not a relevant issue, and processes do not typically depend on that last 1%.
The choice of whether to use a power sensor or energy sensor to monitor a given laser, depends really on what sort of changes we are looking out for – mainly, what time-constant of changes are of interest.
To illustrate what I mean:
A power sensor that would be used for a low-power laser would usually be either a photodiode type sensor (e.g. PD300) or a high-sensitivity-thermal type sensor (e.g. 3A). For measuring energy per pulse, we’ll normally use an energy sensor – either a PE-xx or a PD-xx, depending on the laser details.
Regarding the power sensor, the response time of the photodiode type sensors is 0.2 sec, while for the 3A it is 1.8 sec. This type of sensor will pick up fluctuations in average power over this order of magnitude of time; if, though, there is a small spike in pulse energy that does not affect average power over this order of magnitude of time, it will not be detected. With the energy sensors, every pulse is measured, and so any one pulse that is different will be caught. Of course, at pulse frequencies more than a few Hz, a single unusual pulse won’t be noticed by a human user of a hand-held meter, but if we log the data or otherwise use software to monitor the readings then we’ll catch anything the sensor can measure.
So, if we want to monitor the laser to catch any pulse outside a defined range, then we should use an energy sensor. If, on the other hand, we only want to catch slower changes – say, we want to monitor long-term drift but not small pulse-to-pulse fluctuations, then a power sensor is the right tool to use. In other words, it depends on what the actual purpose of the monitoring is.
The new LP2 coating has a number of advantages vs the previous LP1 coating:
|Damage Threshold at 1kW||6kW/cm²||10kW/cm²|
|Damage Threshold at 3kW||2.5kW/cm²||5kW/cm²|
|Damage Threshold at 5kW||2kW/cm²||2.5kW/cm²|
|Pulsed damage threshold for 10ms pulses||160J/cm²||400J/cm²|
|Spectral Absorption||See graphs below|
|Angle dependence||See graphs below|
A firmware upgrade of StarBright and StarLite is done a bit differently than for our other meters. We have therefore posted a short video (< 2 minutes long) that walks through the process, step by step. You can find it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvQbL5ZsfcE.
Here are the instructions for upgrading the firmware of the StarBright or Starlite meter: (Note: The Field Upgrade Tool requires .NET Framework 4 to be installed on the computer.)
- Download the latest StarBright or StarLite firmware upgrade package from the Ophir website:
http://www.ophiropt.com/laser--measurement/software/starlite-field-upgrade and copy it to your target directory.
- Run the upgrade executable and follow the on-screen instructions.
The Ophir power meters can save the configuration to the sensor memory so that each time you power on the meter with that particular sensor connected, it will default to the settings last saved. See the specific Operator’s Manuals for instructions on how to do this.
The Ophir power meters are designed for monochromatic single-wavelength or a narrow band of wavelength laser power and/or energy measurement. Most all of the sensors have varied sensitivity depending upon wavelength. In order for the power meter to measure accurately the corresponding laser wavelength must be selected prior to taking measurement readings. When there is a range of wavelengths listed as selection options, then any laser within the wavelength range of the selection will be measured within the stated accuracy tolerance.
Frame Priority will attempt to capture data frames and store them into the frame buffer as quickly as possible. Results will be computed and posted as the remaining bandwidth will allow, but results posting will skip frames if it cannot keep up with the rate at which data is streaming in. Even in this mode, it may be possible that the camera will output frames faster than BeamGage can keep up.
Results Priority will make the computing and posting of results more important than how fast frames get placed into the frame buffer. If observing the results is the main focus of operation then use this mode."
Generally speaking Results Priority is the mode that should be used. In contrast, if performing post processing, one could disable all processing modes, results, and displays and then Frame Priority will capture frame data at the maximum rate possible on the PC.
The latest current version of BeamGage is available from our software download page and there is no-charge to download and install the latest version, which we do encourage. The BeamGage software is provided in different tier levels, BeamGage Standard or Professional. The BeamGage cameras are licensed with the particular tier requested at the time of purchase. If a system is not licensed for a higher tier, that may have recently been installed, it will request a license key to be entered before proceeding. You may need to purchase the license key in order to use the installed software, or install the supported tier level, which is available on the software download web page. If you are not sure of what a particular camera is licensed for, you can call our service department with the serial number of the unit and we can look it up in our system.
The 10K-W and 15K-W sensors are calibrated at wavelength 1.064μm, but since they relatively flat spectrally throughout the near infrared, this setting can be use anywhere in the spectral range 0.8 – 2μm. This is represented by the wavelength setting “NIR”. (They are also calibrated at 10.6um for CO2 lasers.)
Approximately 3.2% of the light impinging on the sensor is backscattered in a diffuse manner. The “Ophir 10K-W/15K-W Scatter Shield” (P/N 7Z08295) is available to reduce this effect. When it is installed on the front flange of the 10K-W or 15K-W, it will reduce the backscatter to about 0.9%, by absorbing much of the backscattered light and by reflecting some of it back into the sensor where that light is absorbed. The increased absorption with the shield causes the reading on the sensor to be slightly higher than without the shield. We have introduced a laser setting called NIRS to compensate for this. When using the scatter shield, set the laser setting to NIRS. Otherwise, leave it at NIR. The situation is similar for the 30K-W sensor; there the calibration is at 1070nm, and the settings are called “107” (for regular use) and “107S” (for use with the 30K-W Scatter Shield).
This is most likely due to an out of date Firmware version. You can update the firmware by clicking the “More…” button on the Select Device(s) popup window and following the steps to update the firmware.
The EA-1 is not supported by the COM Object. However, there is no need to use it, as you can write your own code using a telnet connection.
Microsoft discontinued support for the IEEE 1394 interface in Windows 10, therefore the discontinued Pyrocam III and the other 1394 FireWire cameras cannot be supported in Windows 10. The Pyrocam IIIHR and Pyrocam IV, along with all currently available CCD cameras
from Ophir-Spiricon, are supported in Windows 10.
The latest beam profiling software versions are posted to our software download web page at: http://www.ophiropt.com/laser--measurement/software-download. Release Notes ReadMe PDF file links have been added on the right side of the page for each software package indicating what is new.
Diffuser-based sensors (PE25BF-DIF-C, PE50BF-DIF-C, etc.) seem to get left out of our standard cleaning recommendations.
It’s actually quite simple: We clean these sensors using an optical type cleaning tissue and ethanol.
The starting point - the calibration measurements themselves (using the moderate-power lasers) - are all based on NIST-calibrated “master” sensors.
Basing high-power calibration accuracy on lower power calibration measurements is valid, subject to the condition that the sensors are linear all across the full power range.
A series of detailed tests have confirmed that indeed these sensors are highly linear, all the way up to the highest powers for which they are rated.
Since the thermal sensors have been shown to be linear over their entire range of powers, it follows that if the calibration is correct at low powers, it will remain correct at high powers as well.
The spec of the 120K-W was designed around the way such lasers are typically used. Since these lasers are normally used with focusing optics, the spec of the 120K-W does not give a maximum power density, but rather defines the assumed focusing lens FL and position such that the beam will end up having a 100mm diameter at the cone, and defines the assumption of a near Gaussian beam under those conditions so we can define a baseline number; the idea is that this would be much more useful to a customer than merely stating the maximum power density on the sensor’s reflecting cone. This is defined briefly in the spec (as found on the 120K-W web page), and in a bit more detail in this User Note.
To install StarCom on your PC please do the following:
- Please uninstall previous version before installation.
- Download StarCom V3.20 (3.75 MB) - [32-bit].
- Run the file and follow the on-screen instructions.
- After installation is completed, you can Run the StarCom Application from your computer Desktop.
Note: StarCom must be installed with Administrator privileges
Pyroelectric sensors are energy sensors, meaning they measure the energy of pulsed laser sources…not the power of steady-state CW sources. In order for pyroelectric sensors to output a measurement a single shot or repetitively pulsed laser source is required. If you are trying to verify that a pyroelectric sensor is operating and currently do not have a pulsed laser source to direct onto it, they will usually output various measurements when tapping on the mechanical housing indicating that they are operating OK.
StarLab 3.30 does include new features which may require a firmware upgrade of the meter or PC interface, I.E. Juno, in order to operate with it. The required firmware is included with StarLab 3.30, but you do need to click on the More… link in the Select Device(s) menu in order to launch the Diagnostics menu and then proceed with the Upgrade firmware procedure. After performing the firmware upgrade, the meter or PC interface will connect with StarLab and operate normally. Note; Upgrading the firmware will not affect calibration.
The calibration process insures that a sensor is working within in-tolerance performance, similar to “as new” condition. Typically when there is a damaged area on a power sensor disk, that particular area will exceed the disk uniformity specification, which is ±2% across the active surface area of the disk, and therefore (with a damaged area on a sensor) it will be rejected for calibration because it is outside of the acceptance criteria to pass the calibration procedure requirements.
The thermal power sensors have a non-linear absorption curve through-out their wavelength response range and have various laser wavelength settings to correct for the non-linearity. If the wavelength settings are saved at different laser wavelength settings, then they will produce a different measurement. The laser wavelength setting, when saved, stays with the sensor, not with the meter. Note; all new meters and interface units will update their initialization of the sensor when it is connected, except for the Nova, which must be turned off and on again when connecting a new sensor in order to initialize it.
The LBA-PC system was discontinued in 2010. We no longer provide support for LBA-PC systems. If you are in need of a new camera beam profiler, we do have a variety of BeamGage camera systems to meet your requirements.
BeamGage has the ability to connect to an Ophir USB power meter to display the power measurement in the BeamGage Results window without needing to install the StarLab software. You can run the Spiricon Driver Manager and select Ophir Power Meter to install the drivers for the Ophir USB interface units and meters. However, if your interface or meter has an older ROM version that needs to be updated, you will need to install the latest version of StarLab that can be downloaded from our web site here to update your ROM version so it will then show up in BeamGage.
When a laser has a beam size that is too large to fit onto the CCD it is necessary to use lensing to reduce the size of the beam so it can fit. This can be done in one of two ways, a beam reducer or an imaging system. When direct imaging in front of the camera, like imaging an image projected onto a defusing surface such as a ground glass plate, it is necessary to reduce the image so that it completely fits onto the CCD chip surface. A 25mm or 50mm CCTV lens images an object from a given plane in front of the lens onto the CCD while reducing the size. The lens can image such objects at distances from about 10cm in front of the lens (20cm for the 50mm lens) to 1 meter or more depending on the distance from the lens to the CCD. The distance from the lens to the CCD depends on the camera type and spacers placed between the lens and the CCD. The magnification reduction is dependent on how far the object is from the lens and the amount of distance the lens is to the CCD detector. Below is an example of how this is done and some graphs showing the Object distance vs. Lens spacing and Size reduction vs. Lens spacing.
The choice of meter depends on what range of functionality you need (unlike the choice of sensor, which depends on the technical, physical parameters of the laser). Just to give a quick general idea:
- For just basic measurements, no graphics or analysis, and/or when budget is tight, the StarLite is a good choice.
- If you might want to connect your StarLite to a PC, getting the StarLite with the USB Enabling added will allow you to connect to a PC with the "StarLab" laser measurement application running.
- For a solid set of functions, perhaps onboard logging, things like Density, Limits etc, then Vega
- For higher capabilities, combined functions, graphic display options, etc, then StarBright
- For working only connected to a PC (as opposed to also working stand-alone), a PC interface such as Juno
You may find our Meter Finder very helpful - a detailed comparison table of features and capabilities of the various Ophir instruments. And, needless to say – feel free to ask Ophir for help!
To install StarLab on your PC please do the following:
- Download StarLab V3.31(98.8 MB)
- Run the file and follow the on-screen instructions
- After installation is completed, StarLab can be run from your computer
Note: StarLab must be installed with Administrator privileges
The new “LP2” type sensors are specially designed for beams having high power and high power density (and for pulsed beams, high energy density). The LP2 sensors are replacing the equivalent LP1 sensors; as impressive as the LP1 is, the LP2 was developed with the following improvements:
- Very high damage threshold, for both power density and energy density, for long pulse and CW beams;
- Spectrally flat; since its absorption remains constant at widely differing wavelengths, this means that sensors based on the LP2 can be used for "white light" or polychromatic beams;
- Very high level of absorption (as high as 96%, depending on wavelength), meaning much less light is scattered back, which for high power beams is an important benefit;
- The absorption is also largely independent of incident angle, which means it can be used for divergent beams too.
- Download Nova VIs (468 KB) and run it.
- This will run the WinZip Self-Extractor and default to unzip the Nova VI's to "C:/Program Files/National Instruments/LabVIEW 6.1/instr.lib". To select a different target folder, press the "Browse" button.
- Press the "Unzip" button to complete the self-extraction process.
- Press "Close" to close the session.
- Download LaserStar Dual Channel VIs (744 KB) and run it.
- This will run the WinZip Self-Extractor and default to unzip the Dual Channel LaserStar VI's to "C:/Program Files/National Instruments/LabVIEW 6.1/instr.lib". To select a different target folder, press the "Browse" button.
- Press the "Unzip" button to complete the self-extraction process.
- Press "Close" to close the session.
System Integrators will need the following components:
- OphirLMMeasurement COM Object.pdf lists and describes the methods and events available for configuring, controlling and uploading measurements from Ophir devices.
- OphirLMMeasurement.dll. COM object component developed and supplied by Ophir for communication with the Juno, Nova-II, Pulsar, USBI, Vega, StarBright and StarLite devices. The COM object is registered when the application is installed.
- OphirLMMeasurement COM Object.pdf describes how to register it on another PC where the Ophir application has not been installed.
- Standard micro-B USB cable (P/N 7E01279) for use with the StarBright device (included).
- Ophir provides example projects of COM Object clients in VC#, VB.NET and LabVIEW. These are found in the Automation Examples subdirectory of our StarLab PC Application.
- For direct control of the device, refer to User Commands.
In order to get started, install the latest version of StarLab on your PC. The COM Object registration is included in the StarLab installation process.
Yes, Ophir provides example projects of COM Object clients in C#, C++, LabVIEW, Matlab, and Python. These are found in the Automation Examples subdirectory of our StarLab PC Application installation directory.
We recommend only using clean, dry, low-pressure dust-off air spray for gently blowing dust specs and contamination away from the CCD camera sensor. Do not use anything that makes physical contact with the sensor surface. The sensor is delicate and is surrounded by micro connecting wire-bond wires which will likely break if anything physical contacts them.
The cameras included with BeamGage have separate drivers that need to be installed in order for them to be recognized by BeamGage and connected to it. BeamGage installs a Spiricon Driver Manager utility that facilitates installing the appropriate driver for the particular BeamGage camera. You simply launch the Spiricon Driver Manager, click on the camera model listing that matches your camera and click Install. The Spiricon Driver Manager utility is accessed at the Windows Start/All Programs/Spiricon Tools location.
BeamGage Ultracal is the camera baseline correction process that nulls the camera background energy so accurate measurements can be obtained. Upon completing the Ultracal baseline correction cycle, the Ultracal checkbox will turn ON and a Green “U” indicator will illuminate in the status bar. When a camera setting changes that can compromise the Ultracal accuracy, the “U” indicator will turn Red, and Ultracal processing will be suspended. You may notice that the Ultracal Indicator has changed to Red, indicating Ultracal suspension, and not know what changed to cause it. To see an explanation for Ultracal suspension, hover over this indicator with the mouse pointer and a pop-up message will appear providing information of what changed that caused the Ultracal suspension.
The various RM9 radiometer models are fully compatible with these meters/interfaces:
- Vega / Nova II (firmware version 2.44 or higher)
- Juno (1.31 or higher)
- StarLite (1.26 or higher)
- StarBright (1.18 or higher)
They are partially compatible with Ophir’s other meters (Nova, LaserStar, USBI, Pulsar, and Quasar). They will function properly with these devices, except with a narrower power range and with reduced accuracy; see specs for more details.
The analog output of the meter - using the mating connector provided – gives a voltage signal proportional to the actual reading (it is in fact just a D/A translation of what is being displayed), so it represents a fully calibrated reading. The full scale value is a function of the meter being used and the power range it is on. With the StarBright, Vega and Nova II, for example, the user can select full scale analog output voltage ranges of 1v, 2v, 5v or 10v, and the 100% level of the chosen power scale is scaled to the full scale voltage. For example: if you choose 5V full scale analog voltage range, and your sensor is set to a 50W full scale power range, then you will have 5V = 50W or 0.1 V/W. It will vary according to the chosen power range and chosen full scale voltage range. The electrical accuracy is stated in the specification (see the User manual) as ±0.2% (of reading) ±0.3% of full scale volts (in addition to the calibration accuracy of the sensor’s reading itself).
In theory, if a beam is completely parallel and fits within the aperture of a sensor, then it should make no difference at all what the distance is; it will be the same number of photons (ignoring absorption by the air, which is negligible except in the UV below 250nm). If, nevertheless, you do see such a distance dependence, there could be one of the following effects happening:
- If you are using a thermal type power sensor, you might actually be measuring heat from the laser itself; when very close to the laser, the thermal sensor might be “feeling” the laser’s own heat. That would not, however, continue to have an effect at more than a few cm distance unless the light source is weak and the heat source is strong.
- Beam geometry – The beam may not be parallel and may be diverging. Often, the lower intensity wings of the beam have greater divergence rate than the main portion of the beam. These may be missing the sensor's aperture as the distance increases. To check that you'd need to use a profiler, or perhaps a BeamTrack PPS (Power/Position/Size) sensor.
- If you are measuring pulse energies with a diffuser-based pyroelectric sensor: Some users find that when they start with the sensor right up close to the laser and move it away, the readings drop sharply (typically by some 6%) over the first few cm. This is likely caused by multiple reflections between the diffuser and the laser device, which at the closest distance might be causing an incorrectly high reading. You should back off from the source by at least some 5cm, more if the beam is not too divergent.
Needless to say, it’s also important to be sure to have a steady setup; a sensor held by hand could easily be moved around involuntarily, which could cause partial or complete missing of the sensor’s aperture at increasing distance, particularly for an invisible beam.
Unless otherwise indicated, Ophir sensors and meters should be recalibrated within 18 months after initial purchase, and then once a year after that.
These sensors have a gold-coated reflecting cone, which can be easily scratched. If one of these sensors needs to be cleaned, we recommend blowing with clean air or nitrogen. If, however, the cone gets soiled (for example with something spilled on it), such that blowing is not enough to clean it, then there is a risk of the contaminant material getting “burned in” by laser radiation. In such a case, to avoid that risk, one should use a suitably soft tissue with solvent, and wipe as gently as possible.
With the release of BeamGage 6.9.1 the ability to install an Ophir power meter is available through the Spiricon Driver Manager. This allows the Ophir power meter equipment to work with BeamGage, and without the need to separately run the StarLab PC power meter application. The Spiricon Driver Manager can be accessed at the end of the BeamGage installation or at a later time by clicking on the Windows Start, going to All Programs\Spiricon Tools and select Spiricon Driver Manager. With an Ophir power meter connected through the USB cable, then Under “Select a device:” you will now see an option to install the Ophir Power Meter. Click on the Ophir Power Meter and then the Install button, located to the right, to install a connection to the Ophir power meter equipment. Power meter control options are now available through BeamGage such as selecting the appropriate wavelength and power/energy scaling factor.
If the pulse width is incorrectly set to a pulse width shorter than the actual pulse width of the laser, the reading will be erroneously low. If it is set to a setting longer than necessary, the reading will be correct but noisier. The Ophir pyroelectric sensors can measure long as well as short pulses. In order to operate properly, the pulse width must be set to a maximum pulse width setting longer than the actual laser pulse width. Therefore the pulse width should be set to the shortest pulse width longer than the actual laser pulse width. (Some sensors only have one pulse width setting and measure all pulse lengths on this setting. In this case “N/A” will appear). To set up for pulse width with the Vega meter, please do the following: From the main measurement screen, press the 3rd from the left soft key. The choices of pulse width will appear. With the navigation keys, select the smallest value larger than your actual laser pulse width and press “save”.
Our recalibration process is to not automatically upgrade the firmware in meters when they are sent in for recalibration, unless specifically requested to upgrade it. The reason for this is that we support many companies, such as medical companies, that have equipment validation processes that don’t allow changing the firmware version from the currently validated version. If you do want the latest firmware version installed, we will do that at no additional charge (for meters which are upgraded electronically) if it is specifically requested on the RMA request checklist form. For older meters (such as the Nova) that are upgraded through changing the EEPROM, a nominal fee is added, if firmware upgrade is requested. Note; upgrading the firmware does not affect the calibration.
The idea is used with most (though not all) sensors; the fiber optic connectors are standard (such as FC, SMA, etc.), but the sensors are all different in their mechanics, so we use the standard FO connectors but provide in addition mounting brackets for connecting the FO connectors to the various sensors.
The spec was designed around the way such lasers are typically used. Since these lasers are normally used with focusing optics, the spec of the 120K-W does not give a maximum power density; rather, it defines the assumed focusing-lens focal length and position such that the beam will end up having a 100mm diameter at the cone, and defines the assumption of a near Gaussian beam under those conditions so we can define a baseline number. This is defined briefly in the spec, and in a bit more detail in the User Note that comes with the sensor.
You can try our Nova II demo online. It can be found here. You can use this demo to connect to different sensor styles and check the meter’s and sensor’s functionality. You can also simulate a laser by imputing exposure levels. This simulator does not allow you to try every sensor, but it can give you an idea how the meters work and how sensors interface with the meter.
With Trigger In mode the camera will only start to expose and transmit a frame of data when a trigger signal is sent to the camera. There generally are timing issues when using photo detectors with pulsed lasers and CCD camera frame acquisition. The BeamGage Trigger In feature provides delay adjustment to move the camera acquisition timing in order to synchronize with the pulsed laser firing. The delay can be set in milliseconds to be either later or earlier in the exposure window. A negative delay entry is settable for pre-triggering when needed. When the beam is present but not displayed, adjusting the delay will allow for good synchronization and a consistent pulsed beam display.
Other than by connecting a camera and collecting data, the best way to verify that your BeamGage installation is working correctly is to select Beam Maker as the source. You should see a simulated beam come up in the display. If it does not, it signals that the installation of the software has failed to install one or more components correctly. The solution is to uninstall and reinstall the software, ensuring that it is performed with administrator privileges.