Saving time and money using beam profilers

21.9.12

Today’s various laser applications, from delicate medical operations to heavy material processing, demand high quality laser beams which perform precisely and consistently. In order to ensure a laser is performing properly and efficiently it is necessary to monitor the laser performance using laser measurement devices. Although in some cases it is sufficient to use a laser power meter including a sensor to monitor laser power output, for many cases a beam profiler is necessary to measure as well the beam’s spatial characteristics such as: beam size, shape, intensity, and divergence. Knowing all of the characteristics of a beam could save a user a lot of time and money. In this article we demonstrate with several real examples how Ophir Spiricon and Photon beam profilers and software are used for different applications.

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How to measure a low power broadband light source?

19.12.11

Photodiodes are usually used to measure the power and energy of low power laser beams. Can photodiodes be used to measure low power broadband light sources?

Laser measurement of high-power broadband light sources can easily be measured using standard thermal or pyroelectric sensors. Pyroelectric and thermal sensors generate an electrical current proportional to absorbed heat whether the light creating the heat is broadband or of a single wavelength. Low power sources are usually measured with photodiode sensors. These sensors have a wide variation in sensitivity as a function of wavelength and are usually calibrated to measure a particular wavelength.

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How to measure the peak power of a pulsed laser

Here’s a peak power calculator, if that’s what you wanted.

Read on if you’re interested in how to measure the real pulse shape of your laser – and use it to calculate the peak power.

When working with pulsed laser sources, laser developers and scientists are often interested in knowing the peak power, the highest power output from the laser.  However, most pulsed laser power meters display the total energy of a pulse or alternatively the average power, not the peak power. How can a user measure the peak power of a pulsed laser beam using Ophir laser measurement equipment?

Ophir offers a nanosecond response time photodetector which is designed to measure the temporal behavior of pulsed lasers, the FPS-1 photodetector.  The FPS-1 is easily connected to an oscilloscope which displays a temporal trace of the power output during the pulse. Since the oscilloscope does not display a trace of absolute power output over time, but rather the relative pulse behavior and shape, it cannot be used directly to find the peak power. However, with a simple calculation the trace may be used to derive the peak power of a pulse.

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Use StarLab to enhance your system efficiency

17.8.11

Many laser systems have beams propagating through several stages before the final beam is directed to its target. Monitoring laser performance of these systems is important but may be difficult.

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Power and Energy measurement with the 193nm excimer laser

10.8.11

A short wavelength excimer laser, which produces light in the ultra violet spectrum,   has unique characteristics that set it apart from other lasers. These characteristics enable its use in applications that would be challenging for other lasers, but also introduce unique issues when it comes to measuring its beam.

193nm Excimer lasers are often used in certain applications involving laser ablation of materials in which there is a need for very high precision and minimal heating. The ablation mechanism of these short wavelength beams does not involve heating, but rather dissociation of the target material; therefore the material can be cut or similarly processed without significant thermal effects. For example, excimer lasers are used for Lasik surgery, where a laser has to be targeted at a small location in the eye, without causing residual heat damage to surrounding tissue. Excimer lasers are also used for the production of microchips, where a very fine pattern has to be generated by the laser on semiconductor wafers; the short wavelengths enable the beam to image a very fine pattern from a mask which in turn enables the photolithographic process to create smaller features on the wafer. This is very important as advancing technology requires constantly increasing density of devices on a chip.

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Analyze your beam measurements using Matlab!

Ophir’s most recent version of StarLab, software that converts a PC to a multi-channel laser power/energy measurement station, incorporates Microsoft® COM Object technology. This technology allows software developers to integrate Ophir laser measurement objects into their software without knowing how laser measurement objects are built.

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Measuring Laser Position & Pointing Stability

One of the laser’s most useful properties is that while a laser beam propagates it defines a straight line. Many optical systems designed to exploit this property include: range finders, optical scanners, laser printers, laser marking machines and many more. For these systems it is extremely important that the laser beam is directed toward its designed location. Beam profilers have the capacity to indicate where the beam is located on the detector of the beam profiler, and different types of profilers can indicate position with varying degrees of accuracy. Therefore, beam profilers are often used while operating laser systems to ensure they are functioning properly. Beam profilers are also used to streamline the manufacturing process of a laser system, efficiently ensuring the laser spot is on the right location.

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The new Ophir BeamTrack sensor- You won’t believe how useful it is!

Take a minute to understand how useful Ophir’s new Beam Track sensor really is. The Beam Track sensor indicates beam size and location as well as beam power and energy, and it’s in the same price range as ordinary power and energy sensors.  Ephraim Greenfield, CTO at Ophir photonics, writes about the convenience of using the Beam Track sensor:

At Ophir’s development laboratory we have been developing a new fast thermal sensor. This sensor is sensitive to power density and to measure the dependence on power density, we have to measure the beam waist of the Gaussian beam at various beam sizes and various powers.

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Factors that can impact the accuracy of the laser/power measurements

So you acquired a brand new laser power sensor, is there anything else you should know to ensure high accuracy of your laser measurements?

There are a few factors you should keep in mind in general and depending on the type of sensor.

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Medical Laser Applications: Beam Measuring & Profiling

Picture this, “you are an experienced eye surgeon.  After a routine operation you are informed your patient’s eyesight may be impaired for life because your laser scalpel didn’t function properly”- how would you tell your patient the bad news?

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