BeamWatch laser beam profiler

Ophir Photonics has expanded its BeamWatch family of industrial laser beam profilers. The company has also released a laser power meter for measuring very high power 120kW lasers.

BeamWatch is a non-contact, focus spot size and position monitor for very high power YAG, fibre, and diode lasers. Designed for material processing applications, the system measures laser parameters accurately without requiring contact with the laser beam. New features include the ability to monitor smaller diameter focus spots – down to 80µm – for cutting and welding of thinner materials, and 2D viewing of beams to determine roundness or the presence of astigmatism.

The profiler makes no contact with the laser because it measures the Rayleigh scatter of the beam. This means beams can be monitored at frequent intervals without having to shut down or disrupt the process to gain access.

Conventional measurement systems place a probe in the beam, causing potential damage and slowing measurement; it could take up to two minutes to gather data and characterise the beam. BeamWatch provides instant focus spot size measurements at millisecond intervals.

The profiler monitors high power YAG, disk, fibre, and diode lasers in the 980-1,080nm range, and measures focal spot location at 60ms intervals to indicate whether focal spot shifts are occurring during critical start-up moments.

The system includes the tools to implement an Automation Server written in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), C/C++, or ActiveX applications, such as LabView or Microsoft Excel.

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

The 120K-W meter is designed for heavy-duty applications, such as deep penetration welding, drilling and cutting large products in the field, metal forming, and military directed-energy applications. The portable meter features a design that allows measurement of very high power, fibre, infrared, and Nd:YAG lasers.

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