Monitor focusses on high-power laser accuracy

24th November 2014
Posted By : Barney Scott
Monitor focusses on high-power laser accuracy

Ophir Photonics has announced BeamWatch 1.2, the latest version of the non-contact, focus spot size and position monitor for very high power YAG and fibre lasers. Designed for material processing applications, BeamWatch features a higher sensitivity camera that allows for increased accuracy at lower power levels.

A telecentric lens provides a larger depth of field, meaning the system offers the same accurate measurements whilst being more forgiving of beam position.

"BeamWatch leverages disruptive technology to characterise critical beam measurements in real-time, such as focus size and distance, M2, and beam propagation parameter," said Gary Wagner, General Manager (U.S.), Ophir Photonics. "Since measurements are being made in real-time, you can now measure and characterise focus shift during the critical start-up phase of your process. There is no contact with the laser beam because measurements are made of the Rayleigh scatter caused by the beam. Conventional measurement systems place a probe in the beam, causing potential damage and slowing the measurement process. It could take up to two minutes to gather data and characterize the beam versus instant focus spot size measurements in millisecond intervals with BeamWatch."

BeamWatch is the industry's first laser monitoring system to instantly and accurately measure laser parameters without requiring contact with the laser beam. Lasers can now be monitored at frequent intervals without having to shut down the process or remove tooling and fixtures to gain access.

BeamWatch monitors high power YAG, disc, fibre, and diode lasers in the 980-1080nm range and measures focal spot location at 60ms intervals to indicate whether focal spot shifts are occurring during critical start-up moments.

BeamWatch includes the tools to implement an Automation Server written in visual basic for applications, C/C++, or ActiveX applications, such as LabVIEW or Microsoft Excel.

BeamWatch can be run in Technician Mode, where access is provided to the tools needed for start-up and advanced beam diagnostics, such as optimising measurement parameters or establishing pass/fail criteria. In Operator Mode, the run-time interface displays measurements at video rates. Graphic displays help operators quickly understand the status of the laser's performance without having to interact with the laser or the monitoring system.

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