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This video explains why the Spiricon Pyrocam pyroelectric camera is the overwhelming camera of choice for laser beam diagnostics of IR and UV lasers and high temperature thermal imaging for...

Video Series: Centauri

This series of short videos will help you learn to use the Centauri, Ophir's New Advanced Touch-Screen Laser Power Meter.

Focal Spot Analyzer

This video explains how the Ophir-Spiricon Focal Spot Analyzer helps you measure the exact location of your laser's focused spot.

BeamWatch AM Engineers Explain

Ophir has been honored with a 2018 Laser Focus World Platinum Innovators Award for BeamWatch AM®, the first non-contact laser beam monitoring system for additive manufacturing. In this video,...

Laser Measurement Sensors

In this short “Basics” video we review in general how one goes about measuring laser beam power and energy, so that you’ll have a clear basic understanding of what the different sensor types are,...


The LBS-300 beam sampler allows you to safely measure laser beams with diameters up to 15mm and powers ranging from 10mW to ~400W using a CCD camera. This video describes the LBS-300 features.

Introducing BeamWatch AM

BeamWatch AM is an integrated laser measurement system designed to measure critical laser beam parameters for laser-based additive manufacturing systems.

Low Power Measurements: Best Practices

Measuring very low power beams of light can be tricky; even small values of noise, drift or offset can have major impact on your readings. ...

Ophir StarLab

Ophir StarLab, laser measurement software various functions & application overview

Go into the Control Panel \ Devices and Printers and see that the USB3 camera is listed there. It may have a yellow triangle with an exclamation point in it. Do a right click on the camera and choose “Properties” then from the tabs at the top choose “Hardware”. There may be multiple choices and the Point Grey USB3 Vision Camera may be highlighted. At the bottom right side click the “Change Settings” window with the yellow and blue shield. From there click “Browse” and go to C:\Program Files\Point Grey Research\FlyCap2Viewer\driver64\signed\Windows 7 or Windows 10\PGRUSB. Click OK and Windows finds the PGRUSBCAM.sys file in that folder and loads it.


There are several possible ways to do this:

  • Use a beam sampling optic (partially reflective mirror or uncoated window).
  • Feed the laser beam into an integrating sphere and attach the temporal detector to the sphere using the adapter accessory.
  • Use a beam dump and position the detector such that it picks up some of the reflected laser radiation.

Attenuating accessories are available (see temporal detector's product page). Laser power density on the attenuators should be less than 50 W/cm².


calibrated power sensor measures average power of CW and pulse laser beams. The sensor is connected to an Ophir Meter or PC Interface. Power sensors are optimized for low noise and linear response in order to maximize power measurement accuracy. The measured laser beam must be smaller than the sensor's aperture in order to obtain an accurate power measurement. Temporal sensors are optimized for high speed response in order to reproduce pulse temporal characteristics with high fidelity. A temporal sensor is usually smaller than the laser beam size and samples a portion of the beam. The temporal sensor is connected to a scope or spectrum analyzer to display temporal characteristics of pulsed lasers.


Pulse energy can be measured directly using one of Ophir's calibrated energy sensors. Another way is to use a calibrated power sensor and calculate the pulse energy using:

Pulse energy [J] = average power [W] / pulse rate [pulses per second]

Temporal sensors provide a signal that is proportional to the instantaneous power output of the laser. When viewing the pulse waveform on an oscilloscope, the integrated area under the curve is proportional to the total pulse energy.


With a temporal detector you can measure the rise time, fall time, pulse duration and pulse frequency. Many laser applications use pulsed laser, for example medical lasers, LIDARs, and high power fiber laser for metal processing to name a few. The parameters of the laser pulses are critical for the performance of the application.


When using a fan-cooled thermal sensor to measure low power, or single shot energy, we normally recommend to measure without the fan because the fan can introduce noise.
With low powers this can reduce the accuracy of the reading, and with energy measurements this can negatively impact repeatability of the readings.
Typically, single-shot energy measurements involve low enough average powers that there is no need to cool the sensor anyway.
However, if your average power is high enough to heat your sensor and you need to cool it, then of course you can use the fan.
With higher energy pulses – such that your average power is higher - the relative impact on repeatability will be less anyway.


The Single Channel Centauri is actually a Dual Channel Centauri with the second Channel B disabled.
You can field upgrade a Single Channel Centauri to a Dual Channel Centauri by purchasing a Dual Channel Activation Code, ordering P/N 7Z11056.
The code number received is then entered by the user in the Instrument Settings to enable the second channel.


The short answer is…sort of.
There are 2 main issues that link measurement accuracy to beam diameter:

  • Uniformity of the sensor’s response across the aperture
  • Fraction of the sensor’s aperture that the beam fills

Because there is a tolerance on surface uniformity across any sensor’s aperture (there always is), beams of different sizes will of course be affected differently since they take up different chunks of the total surface. The actual uniformity spec varies from sensor to sensor. In general, the uniformity is better than +/-2% over the central 50% of the area (70% of the diameter), and for many sensors considerably better than this. For more information see our tutorial at
Regarding the recommended portion of a sensor’s aperture that a beam should ideally fill: There is a balance here between several factors. All other things being equal, an ideal fraction of sensor aperture would be somewhere between 1/3 and 2/3. Please see this short video for a clear explanation.


The wavelengths that can be measured with the NanoModeScan are limited by the NanoScan detector that is used.

  • The Silicon NanoScan’s can measure wavelengths from 190 – 1,100nm
  • The Germanium NanoScan’s can measure wavelengths from 700 – 1,800nm
  • The Pyroelectric NanoScan’s can measure wavelengths from 190 – 20,000nm

Users may find that the NanoScan v2 application and the provided USB to RS-232 serial converters are Windows 10 compatible, however, currently the NanoModeScan application is not compatible with the Windows 10 operating system.


The Windows 10 installation may have an outdated or incomplete root certificate to verify the digital signatures of device drivers. The root certificate store is periodically updated through Windows Updates. PC’s that are behind on Windows Updates are more likely to experience this error. Update the store by installing all available updates for the Windows 10 operating system.


14 Frames/second

The effective frame rates listed in BeamGage specification sheets are the maximum rates typically achievable in actual use.  Frame buffering, image processing techniques, graphical displays, and mathematical computation all add degrees of overhead to achieving higher frame rates.  This can be further limited by the available PC hardware.  BeamGage features two modes, Frame Priority and Results Priority, which change how the system balances the work.  Results Priority acquires a frame, performs any enabled image processing, performs all calculations and updates the graphical displays before accepting another frame from the camera.  This mode is most useful when a temporal sequence of frames is not necessary and should always be enabled when logging.  Frame Priority mode will allow the calculations and graphical display updates to be interrupted if another frame is ready from the camera before those operations are complete.  This can be useful when collecting all frames at the maximum camera frame rate is necessary.


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.


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
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.)


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).


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.


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.

How do I profile a laser with a beam size that is too big to fit onto the camera CCD detector


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.

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Terahertz Measurement

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