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Proceedings Paper

Optical Fiber Multiplexer For Industrial Nd:YAG Lasers
Author(s): Walther A.E. Goethals
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Paper Abstract

A lot of industrial Nd:YAG lasers are now being equipped with fiber optics for application in flexible manufacturing. One laser can be supplied with several fibers so different processing positions can receive laser power according to the time-and/or energy sharing principle. Most of the time-sharing devices (multiplexers) are based on a galvanometer mirror that couples a converging laser beam into different fibers respectively. From the industry several questions have risen to make these multiplexers faster, more reliable and suitable for smaller diameter fibers. The current designs are limited by the positioning accuracy of the galvanometer mirror and by their sensitiveness to variations in the parameters of the laser beam due to thermal lensing effects. In the patented design of the multiplexer presented here, based on a telescopic image relay and a precision fiber positioning unit, these problems were solved. A prototype has been built which addresses five fibers with 200 μm cores at a switching rate higher than 100 times per second. The fibers have special termination connectors and can be exchanged easily without losing the alignment of the optical system. For spot welding applications with pulsed Nd:YAG lasers this means that this type of multiplexer could be used to take advantage of the high laser pulse rates and the pulse shape and energy programming possibilities that manufacturers of these types of lasers offer nowadays. Another application that has been shown now is the use of several remote laser engraving units served by a single CW/Q-Switched Nd:YAG laser and a fiber multiplexer.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 March 1989
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 1024, Beam Diagnostics and Beam Handling Systems, (28 March 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.950173
Show Author Affiliations
Walther A.E. Goethals, Advanced Production Automation (The Netherlands)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1024:
Beam Diagnostics and Beam Handling Systems
Alberto Sona, Editor(s)

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