High-Power Laser – Controlling Position, Pointing Angle

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:

  1. It delivers five high-power pulses per second and a thousand low-power pulses per second, all on the same path.
  2. The beamline design matches the size and divergence of the high-power and low-power pulses.
  3. It uses a novel wedge-shaped reflector with custom coatings on both the front and back surfaces to replace a reflecting beamline mirror.

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