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Proceedings Paper

Design and performance of an automated video-based laser-beam alignment system
Author(s): William J. Rundle; Michael W. Kartz; Erlan S. Bliss; R. Edward English; Roger L. Peterson; Gary R. Thompson; Dennis M. Uhlich
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Paper Abstract

This paper describes the design and performance of an automated, closed-loop, laser beam alignment system. Its function is to sense a beam alignment error in a laser beam transport system and automatically steer mirrors preceding the sensor location as required to maintain beam alignment. The laser beam is sampled by an optomechanical package which uses video cameras to sense pointing and centering errors. The camera outputs are fed to an image processing module, which includes video digitizers and uses image storage and software to sense the centroid of the image. Signals are sent through a VMEbus to an "optical device controller" (ODC), which drives stepper-motor actuators on mirror mounts preceding the beamsampling location to return the beam alignment to the prescribed condition. Photodiodes are also used to extend the control bandwidth beyond that which is achievable with video cameras. This system has been operated at LLNL in the Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS) program to maintain the alignment of copper and dye laser beams, the latter to within tr in pointing and less than 1 mm in centering. The optomechanical design of the instrumented package, which includes lens, mirror, and video mounts in a rigid housing, the automated control system architecture, and the performance of this equipment is described.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 December 1992
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 1752, Current Developments in Optical Design and Optical Engineering II, (10 December 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.130716
Show Author Affiliations
William J. Rundle, Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc. (United States)
Michael W. Kartz, KMI Energy, Inc. (United States)
Erlan S. Bliss, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
R. Edward English, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Roger L. Peterson, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Gary R. Thompson, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Dennis M. Uhlich, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1752:
Current Developments in Optical Design and Optical Engineering II
Robert E. Fischer; Warren J. Smith, Editor(s)

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