As applications push the boundaries of laser performance, the need to understand operation criteria is increasingly important. And that, says Ophir-Spiricon (Logan, UT), is why it has designed the first "new from the ground up" beam profile analysis system the industry has seen in more than 10 years. BeamGage is based on UltraCal, Ophir-Spiricon's patented baseline correction algorithm that helped establish the ISO 11146-3 standard for accurate beam measurement. BeamGage guarantees data baseline (zero-point reference) accuracy to 1/8th of a digital count on a pixel-by-pixel basis.
BeamMaker, the beam simulator portion of the package, lets users numerically derive a beam profile by specifying the mode, size, width, height, intensity, angle, and noise content. Users can then analyze expected results and confirm BeamGage will accurately measure the beam even before the experiment is constructed. BeamMaker allows modeling of both Laguerre-Gaussian and Hermite-Gaussian laser beams in various modal configurations. These models provide tools that allow verification of BeamGage's basic beam width measurement algorithms. It can also be used to model laser beams with special input conditions such as signal-to-noise, background offset, and bits per pixel resolution. This allows the user to better understand the accuracy of measurements made under both optimum and adverse conditions. This tool provides a method to validate algorithms against current ISO standards and methods. It can also be used to validate third party algorithms by making the output data available for use in third party applications.
A camera control function, Auto Aperture, automatically adjusts to maximize the dynamic range of the lumens on the camera array and to keep the beam as close to saturation levels as possible. The function aims to simplify beam sampling preparation so users can begin taking measurements more quickly than with any other profiling system.
The software also promises the widest range of calculations available to ensure accurate profiling, and it supports custom algorithms to provide the best fit for individual applications: Algorithms are provided for power/energy, spatial results, divergence, Gaussian fit, and histograms. A complete set of calculations also provides 1D and 2D tophat measurements. User-defined computations are treated like the standard calculations. They can be displayed on the monitor, logged with results, and included in hard-copy reports. The system also allows the user to configure the displayed calculations, set-up the screen layout, and password-protect the configuration. This permits secure product testing, ensures security in production environments where plant floor personnel interface with the system, and assures the validity of the data for statistical process control (SPC).
The interface allows functions to be turned on and off with a click; it can be configured for simplicity or to run the full range of technical features.
"A beam's size, shape, uniformity, or approximation to a Gaussian distribution can make or break an application," said company president Gary Wagner. "The beam profile must be optimized at the application level. This ensures accuracy, avoids hot spots or misaligned laser cavities, and allows beam shaping for such applications as laser welding. BeamGage includes all the accuracy and ISO approved quantitative results that made our LBA software so successful. It then adds the BeamMaker simulator, automatic camera control, custom algorithms, and a user-configurable interface that allows users to adjust the complexity of the entire system. The result is the most innovative, accurate, flexible, and user-friendly beam measurement system on the market."
BeamGage boasts an industry first: the ability to marry a beam profiling system to a power meter. It can interface to an Ophir power meter for power/energy calibration, and BeamGage matches the time stamps of the laser power readings to the beam profile data with a similar time stamp.
Based on Microsoft Vista, BeamGage operates in either 64-bit or 32-bit mode for faster processing. Enhanced 3D graphics improve data rendering. Support for the Ribbon toolbar and dock-able windows and panels allow the user to customize the display to take advantage of available monitor space, whether a laptop or a multi-monitor desktop computer. BeamGage supports a wide selection of cameras with FireWire (1394) and USB interfaces. OEM pricing is available on request.
For more information, download the BeamGage data sheet.