By Chuck Reagan, Sales Engineer, Ophir
You may be wondering what to expect when you ask us for a laser beam profiling demo. Here's how it works.
Step 1: Exchange Information
Our first objective is to learn more about you, your laser, and your application. We may start with the question, "Why do you want a demonstration?" People have different reasons. Here's what we often hear from customers:
- You are curious about the mode or shape of your beam or perhaps your maintenance or operations people told you that something was wrong with the laser.
- You may be experiencing poor performance from your laser or your laser is getting old and you want to see if the quality of your beam has deteriorated since it was new.
- You just spent money for new optics, cleaning, and alignment of your laser, but the beam is still not performing up to standard.
- Your laser expert just retired and few people in the company know much about lasers, so you want new people to be familiar with your laser.
- You attended a laser training session where you saw pictures of different laser modes and you want to see what your beam actually looks like.
These are all great reasons for asking for a demonstration and a demo should be able to provide answers for most of your questions. While Ophir does not repair lasers, we can help diagnose problems with your laser's mode and performance.
Your Ophir laser sales engineer will ask you other questions before he or she visits. Answering these questions ahead of the demonstration helps us to complete our work rapidly with no delays when we are at your location. We respect your time and seek to maximize our time on the laser with no unexpected roadblocks to the demonstration. Some of the questions you may be asked include:
- What work do you perform with your laser?
- What is the laser wavelength? Beam size? Pulsed or Continuous Wave? If pulsed, what is the pulse width (pulse length) and repetition rate? What is the average power?
- Is your beam a Gaussian or “Top Hat” or “Flat Top” beam? Does it have an unusual mode such a two-peak beam or an annulus or “ring-shaped” beam?
- What is the estimated size of your beam? Do you report it in mm or inches? What beam width method do you use or do you know what methods are available?
- What is the physical layout of your work area and are there any other constraints that may influence the demonstration, such as time limits, size limits, safety limits, or enclosures?
- Do you have a trained laser operator that can adjust the laser controls to allow the beam to be profiled using our equipment?
- Do you object to using expanding or reducing optics?
- What written information do you require from the software? This can include logging of data, 2D or 3D images, histogram charts and beam wander or drift charts, focal shift evidence over time, and divergence results. Ophir has written reports available in the software that provide pictures, logging results, 2D images, 3D images, and comments in PDF form. We can also tailor a special report for your application that we send you after we leave.
Step 2: Discuss Capabilities, Limitations
Once we have a good idea of what you need and what equipment you have, we will discuss the capabilities of our cameras, scanning slit profilers, and software. We will review any constraints, if there are any, such as the need to use expanding or reducing optics, diffusing glass, imaging lenses, UV image converters, and phosphor coated CCD or InGaAs or Pyroelectric cameras. We will also discuss attenuation requirements, such as beam splitters and filters.
At this time, we may discuss Ophir's power meter products so you can see how we interface those items to our profiling instruments.
Step 3: Site Survey, If Needed
We may need to visit your location before we perform the profiling demonstration to conduct a site survey. The site survey is designed to view your laser setup, answer all remaining questions we may have, and check to see if you have other concerns before we attempt a live demonstration.
Step 4: Profile and Have a Good Time
We can now look forward to a good profiling demonstration and you will hopefully receive answers to all of your profiling questions.