Scientists have developed an innovative optical system to precisely measure and control high-power laser beams’ position and pointing angle with unprecedented accuracy – without interrupting or disturbing the beams.
Even in the most regulated lab setting, laser beams wander around on a microscopic scale due to vibrations and variability. The difference between excellent science and undesired background noise can be as small as a few microns. Unwanted complexity can also arise from pointing angle offsets of less than a thousandth of a degree. Diagnostic sensors and feedback systems are helpful in this scenario.
The issue is to measure these parameters correctly and without interrupting the high-power laser beam. The scientists’ innovative approach involves splitting off and monitoring a low-powered exact copy of the leading laser beam, reflected from the rear surface of a specially designed final optic in the beamline.
The new approach involves a laser architecture with three key attributes: