BeamWatch 2.0

Ophir Photonics Group, global leader in precision laser measurement equipment and a Newport Corporation company, has released a new version of BeamWatch, a non-contact beam monitoring system for high power lasers. BeamWatch is designed for very high power YAG, fiber, and diode lasers used in industrial material processing applications, such as welding and cutting operations in automotive, heavy equipment, and appliance manufacturing, or in oil & gas drilling.

The new version features high magnification optics that measure beams with spot sizes down to 55µm. This allows for smaller, more precise cuts with less waste of material. BeamWatch also supports dual axis measurement, which lets users see the laser beam from two orthogonal axes. Measurements are calculated on each axis, providing detailed information about how the laser is operating. Focal shift can be tracked on both axes and the measurements can be used to determine the roundness of the beam or the presence of astigmatism.

Because there is no contact with the laser beam, BeamWatch has no power restrictions; it has been successfully used on high power lasers up to 100kW. Conventional beam measurement systems place a probe in the beam, causing potential damage and slowing the measurement process to as long as two minutes to gather data and characterize the beam. 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 monitors high power YAG, fiber, and diode lasers in the 980-1080nm range. The system measures key beam size, position, and quality parameters, including focus spot size, waist width, and beam propagation parameter (M2). The system runs in Technician Mode, where access is provided to the tools needed for start-up and advanced beam diagnostics. BeamWatch includes the 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.

Ophir Photonics has also announced three new high power laser sensors and scatter shield accessories designed for measuring large and divergent laser sources, such as diode stacks and arrays. The 6000W-BB-200x200 is a very large aperture (200x200mm), water-cooled laser power/energy sensor able to measure from 100W to 6000W. The L2000W-BB-120 is a large aperture (120mm), water-cooled laser power/energy sensor able to measure up to 2000W. The L100(500)A-PF-120 is a large aperture (120mm) laser power/energy sensor for measuring single shot energy of large beams from high energy, short pulsed lasers. The 30K-W and 10K-W Scatter Shields are designed to reduce the heating effect of backscatter on surrounding sensor surfaces when measuring very high power 10kW and 30kW lasers.

The 6000W-BB-200x200 and L2000W-BB-120 are water-cooled laser sensors for measuring the power and energy of very large, high power laser beams. They have a broad spectral response, 0.19 – 20µm. The L2000W-BB-120 includes a "Smart Connector" interface that operates with the company's StarLite, Nova II, and Vega smart displays, and Juno PC interface. It can also be directly connected to a PC via RS232.

The L100(500)A-PF-120 is designed for high peak power, high energy measurements over a broad spectral range, 0.15 – 20µm. The L100(500)A can measure single shot energy of high peak power, short pulse lasers at up to 3J/cm2. It can also measure high power lasers for short (~1s) exposures at up to 6000W, and can continuously measure up to 100W (500W with heat sink).

Ophir's high power 10K-W and 30K-W Laser Sensors have high absorbance, but 3-4% of the light is still backscattered. This can heat surrounding surfaces of the sensor. The 10K-W and 30K-W Scatter Shields reduce this backscatter by about 70%.

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