Ophir Photonics, global leader in precision laser measurement equipment and a Newport Corporation company, has announced the newest version of BeamWatch®, the only non-contact beam monitoring system for high power YAG, fiber, and diode lasers used in industrial material processing applications. The new version features 3D views of laser beam caustic and ellipticity for a quick and realistic initial display. BeamWatch charts all beam measurements over time. This allows users to trace waist width and location during setup to more easily determine when the beam is aligned and in focus. An industry first, the time charts feature is also useful for high power laser users who can now monitor how beam characteristics change as the laser is used over long periods of time. BeamWatch features high magnification optics that dynamically measure beams with spot sizes down to 55µm. This allows for instant readings and, therefore, rapid correction of large area cosine changes. This means smaller, higher accuracy welds and cuts, and reduced variability across parts.

Unlike conventional measurement systems that place a probe in the beam, causing potential damage and slowing the measurement process by up to two minutes, BeamWatch measures the Rayleigh scatter of the beam, so there is no contact. This means no power restrictions; the system has been successfully used on high power lasers up to 100kW. BeamWatch takes measurements every 60ms, providing instant readings of focus spot size and beam position, as well as dynamic measurements of focal plane location during process start-up.

BeamWatch is a lightweight, compact system that monitors high power YAG, fiber, and diode lasers in the 980-1080nm range. It measures key beam size, position, and quality parameters, including focus spot size, waist width, and beam propagation parameter (M2). The Technician User Interface provides access to the tools needed for start-up and advanced beam diagnostics. BeamWatch also includes tools to support Automation Clients written in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), C++, CLI, or any .Net compliant environment, such as LabVIEW® or Microsoft® Excel.

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