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How It Works: Measuring Laser Power with a Pyroelectric Sensor

There are many ways to measure laser output: You can use a photodiode, thermopile, or pyroelectric sensor. This post will discuss how a pyroelectric sensor measures your laser (basics only) and what types of lasers it is suitable for.

Measurement Mechanism

Pyroelectric based sensors measure laser energy (not power) by inducing a change of temperature in a pyroelectric crystal. This temperature rise is created when the crystal absorbs the energy in a laser pulse.

Types of Lasers

Use pyroelectric sensors to measure the energy of a pulsed laser beam. They are not intended for power measurement.

  • Energy from hundreds of nJ to 10 J
  • A typical energy sensor has a dynamic range of about 3 orders of magnitude
  • Power up to tens of watts

More Information

For more practical information on what to do to get the best accuracy out of your pyroelectric energy sensor, click here.

Read this post for a far more in-depth treatment of pyroelectric energy measurement of lasers, especially in its discussion of the electronics used to greatly improve performance.

Click here for more information on pyroelectric energy measurement of lasers.

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