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By Dick Rieley, Mid-Atlantic Sales Manager, Ophir-Spiricon, LLC

A manufacturer needed to profile and measure diodes that produce a 1300nm CW source in the 10's of mW's. The inspection needed to be conducted in seconds with full accuracy and repeatability because100% inspection was specified to insure the quality level needed by the customer. As this component was a basic element to the finished product, if any defects could be identified at this stage, a significant savings in scrap product...

Anyone who has driven a vehicle has encountered a Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system in action. Some of you have even found out how much it can cost in terms of speeding fines! Let’s take a closer look behind the scenes. How do we know the detector is working?

Many customers involved with laser welding measure the pulse energy output of their lasers, but is this all the data required needed to ensure quality welds? Steve Schellenberg at Spinal Modulation had his doubts. While he found pulse energy measurement using his Ophir equipment useful in qualifying his laser welding process, two of his laser welding stations were producing different quality welds despite producing identical laser pulse energies. One laser welder seemed to be doing an OK job, while the other welder produced significantly...

  • Resonator problems
  • Beam misalignments
  • Aged optics
  • Damaged optics
  • Gas impurities


  • Dross on laser cut
  • Decreased cut speeds
  • Low or unstable laser power
  • Off-balance or unstable beam profile

Overall Effect:

  • Loss of TIME and MONEY

by John McCauley, Product Specialist, Ophir-Spiricon

The Advanced Laser Applications Workshop (ALAW) is an annual conference hosted by The Fabricators & Manufacturers Associate (FMA) in the Detroit, Michigan area. ALAW is an excellent forum to discover and discuss the latest technologies with respect to material processing that involves the use of a laser. Being in the Detroit area, the conversations primarily address automotive material processing, however, much discussion is also directed toward...

By Derrick Peterman, Northern California Sales Engineer, Ophir-Spiricon

Do you know why your laser takes longer and longer to cut the same part? It’s because lasers change over time. No one’s surprised when mechanical cutting tools wear out from wear and tear over time. Lasers, with their intense beams of light that weld and cut metals without direct contact, seem impervious to long term change. But we know they often change dramatically over the course of even a few months. This results in...

By Chuck Reagan, Southeast Sales Engineer, Ophir-Spiricon

From time to time, our company is asked to provide assistance to researchers whose primary field of study is not lasers. In 2005 I began working with a medical researcher at a major medical school whose primary field of study is Dental Material Science. He tested various light sources to photo-cure restorative materials directly in the mouth of the patient.

This researcher worked with light...

John McCauley, Product Specialist, Ophir-Spiricon
High-power industrial lasers are valuable tools in material processing. Maintaining them at peak performance and optimizing the processes for which they are used will maximize throughput and minimize downtime. Periodic measurement and longterm monitoring of key laser variables, including laser output power, focused spot size, and focus spot temporal location provide the data you need to increase accuracy and optimize your process...

By Nicolas Chaise, Regional Sales Manager, Ophir Spiricon Europe

Nowadays, it is quite common to weld with a laser. But some welding applications still require expert skills and customized solutions.

A customer of ours in the shipyard market owns a powerful 12KW fiber laser. Most of the time, they weld small metals pieces. But for a new application, it required a new process.
Welding Large...

By Dick Rieley, East Coast Regional Sales Manager, Ophir Photonics Group

The U.S. military often serves as the proving grounds for emerging technologies. With advances in laser technologies, it is more common today for these military systems to involve lasers. One such example is the use of a laser in the periscope of a nuclear-powered submarine. As you can imagine, the data that this laser provides relies directly on both the quality of the laser and its alignment within the system. So how is the accuracy of this particular...

Operation of the Goniometric Radiometer with Pulsed Sources

Photon has discovered that measuring pulsed sources with the goniometric radiometer is not straightforward. Although pulsed operation is possible, there are some parameter combinations that can cause inaccurate measurements. Because of the auto-ranging of the preamplifiers in the systems, some frequencies, pulse widths, duty cycles, and power levels will work fine and others that are scarcely different will...

NanoScan applications are normally processes and the problems that are solved by them are usually one of the processes, such as an alignment, collimation, or a precise focusing process taking too long, not being accurate enough, or requiring too much high level intervention to accomplish by using other methods.

Many applications of lasers require that the laser beam be adjusted to meet some parameter, such as the beam size at the point of work, maintaining a collimated beam over a range...

When profiling a coherent laser beam with a NanoScan with non-blackened, reflective apertures (slit or pinhole), it is possible that interference may be observed on the beam trace. (see Figure 1b).

The interference is due to back reflections from the slit/pinhole. Even a blackened
slit/pinhole can cause this effect, because the air slit/pinhole edges appear as...

Although the NanoScan was designed originally to measure continuous wave (CW) laser beams, many lasers are operated in the pulsed mode. Measuring these pulsed beams has generally required the use of a CCD array profiler. This is a reasonable solution for low power lasers in the UV and visible wavelength range, but these will require external attenuation. Once the lasers leave the UV-VIS range, array cameras become extremely expensive. Although low frequency pulsed lasers operating in the 1Hz to 1000Hz range have no real alternative to the...

Simple NanoScan/BeamScan Measurements of
Laser Diode Beams Produces Astigmatism Data

Astigmatism measurements of laser diodes, optical elements, and/or other sources can be made quickly and easily using a NanoScan/BeamScan. For example, by simply focusing the beam from a laser diode onto the profiler and measuring the distance between primary and secondary foci, an indication of source astigmatism is readily obtained. However, since this distance is on the order of 10 microns (μm), longitudinal magnification can be...

The Goniometric Radiometer Models LD 8900 and LD 8900R enable the user to characterize the angular radiation intensity of a wide range of light-emitting sources, including VCSELs, laser diodes, optical fibers and optical waveguides. In order to achieve accurate characterization, the light source in question must be positioned in a way that is both measured and repeatable. This application note suggests methods for adapting the LD 8900 and LD 8900R to accomodate the positioning of the light source in your application...

Using a NanoScan and standard optical accessories, acceptance testing and final system performance of a lens, lens assembly, optical subsystem, or overall system test may be measured. The NanoScan was developed to quickly and accurately evaluate a real-time measurement of an spatial image. This is done by evaluating the energy distribution of the spatial profile and measuring the beam size.
An image is considered in focus when you have a...

The attached plot (next page) illustrate results obtained by two instruments for the same diode operating under the same conditions. The first instrument was a goniometer designed and built by our customer for their in-house testing, which they believe is very accurate. The second instrument was the Model LD 8900 Goniometric Radiometer from Photon.
Instrument Differences:

  • Photon LD 8900 Goniometer; scan aperture 0.7E circular, radius of scan 85mm; data sampled every...
Misleading results can be obtained when performing single axis or perpendicular axes scans if the device under test is either not centered in the entrance aperture or if it is not pointed reasonably well into the instrument. Some users assume the measurement is made through the device optical centroid axis and it may not be so. Only when the instrument optical axis and the device optical centroid axes are coincident will this be the case.

Photon’s High Power NanoScan is designed to measure "high power" laser beams that were previously impossible to measure with standard BeamScan or NanoScan products. High power is a fairly indistinct term that means different things in different contexts. For our purposes, "high power" is defined as between 100W and 5000W, however the High Power NanoScan will not be able to measure this power range for all wavelengths. High power laser beams are handled by using reflective materials, and the level of reflectivity,...

Problems that one might encounter with a NanoScan scanning-slit beam profiler are due to either scanhead damage, or out-of-tolerance conditions. Scanhead damage can be categorized into two main types; Laser and Mechanical. Laser damage is the most prevalent, and results from exposure to lasers with excessive laser power/energy density, and or high average power. The damage can be classified into 2 categories, designated “Instantaneous” and “Long-Term”. Instantaneous damage thresholds given in units of irradiance and fluence are dependent on the beam power or energy, the spot size, and the wavelength.


CCD cameras are commonly used for many imaging applications, as well as in optical instrumentation applications. These cameras have many excellent characteristics for both scene imaging and laser beam analysis. However, CCD cameras have two characteristics that limit their potential performance. The first limiting factor is the baseline drift of the camera. If the baseline drifts below the digitizer zero, data in the background is lost, and...

By Larry Green Ophir-Spiricon, LLC


  • THz Range available to the user
  • – Wavelengths and Frequencies
  • Tools to Image THz beams
  • Optics- Type and Sources
  • Cameras and Other Sensors
  • Results

Read TutorialRead the tutorial

By John McCauley, Midwest Regional Sales Manager, Ophir-Spiricon, LLC

Whether you’re new to lasers or you’ve been working with them for some time, you may be wondering what all the fuss is over laser beam profiling. Why worry about the quality of the laser beam that you’ve just put into production? Or, if you think your process is humming along nicely, why fix what isn’t broken? You might think that laser beam quality has more than likely been addressed at the research and...

By Allen M. Cary, Photon Inc. San Jose CA

Most people working with lasers today are trying to do something with the light beam, either as the raw beam or, more commonly, modified with optics. Whether it is printing a label on a part, welding a precision joint or repairing a retina, it is important to understand the nature of the laser beam and its performance. Laser beam profiling provides the tools to characterize the laser and know precisely what the beam is doing at...