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Proceedings Paper

Laser beam alignment and profilometry using diagnostic fluorescent safety mirrors
Author(s): Todd E. Lizotte
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Paper Abstract

There are a wide range of laser beam delivery systems in use for various purposes; including industrial and medical applications. Virtually all such beam delivery systems for practical purposes employ optical systems comprised of mirrors and lenses to shape, focus and guide the laser beam down to the material being processed. The goal of the laser beam delivery is to set the optimum parameters and to "fold" the beam path to reduce the mechanical length of the optical system, thereby allowing a physically compact system. In many cases, even a compact system can incorporate upwards of six mirrors and a comparable number of lenses all needing alignment so they are collinear. One of the major requirements for use of such systems in industry is a method of safe alignment. The alignment process requires that the aligner determine where the beam strikes each element. The aligner should also preferably be able to determine the shape or pattern of the laser beam at that point and its relative power. These alignments are further compounded in that the laser beams generated are not visible to the unaided human eye. Such beams are also often of relatively high power levels, and are thereby a significant hazard to the eyes of the aligner. Obvious an invisible beam makes it nearly impossible to align laser system without some form of optical assistance. The predominant method of visually aligning the laser beam delivery is the use of thermal paper, paper cards or fluorescing card material. The use of paper products which have limited power handling capability or coated plastics can produce significant debris and contaminants within the beam line that ultimately damage the optics. The use of the cards can also create significant laser light scatter jeopardizing the safety of the person aligning the system. This paper covers a new safety mirror design for use with at various UV and Near IR wavelengths (193 nm to 1064 nm) within laser beam delivery systems and how its use can provide benefits covering eye safety, precise alignment and beam diagnostics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 February 2011
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7913, Laser Resonators and Beam Control XIII, 79130F (18 February 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.880768
Show Author Affiliations
Todd E. Lizotte, Hitachi Via Mechanics (USA), Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7913:
Laser Resonators and Beam Control XIII
Alexis V. Kudryashov; Alan H. Paxton; Vladimir S. Ilchenko, Editor(s)

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