Not all lasers are created equal. Even those with the same wavelength and power level can have strikingly different beam profiles. To aid productivity and quality in industrial applications, thermal detectors are used to measure the power and energy of lasers. But to complete the picture of the laser's performance, an additional beam profiler is needed to measure the beam's profile.
BeamTrack Laser Power/Position/Size Sensors from Ophir Photonics Group, Logan, Utah, are the first laser detectors able to collect six different metrics in the same unit: power, position, size, energy, centering, and wander. Starting with an annular thermopile sensor, developers added taps at four locations around the circumference to measure not only the total voltage generated by the laser, but also the relative contribution of each quadrant. This allows the sensor to track beam position as well as the power and energy output. An additional thermocouple was added to the center of the sensor disc to gauge beam size. Because the relative temperature for a centered beam will increase as the beam size decreases, the ratio of output of the center themocouple to the rest of the thermopile can be used to determine beam size.
Laser tracking and measuring sensor
The BeamTrack Laser Power/Position/Size Sensors Development Team from Ophir Photonics Group:
Eliyahu Bender, Principal Developer
Mark Ivker, Principal Developer