New Laser Beam Propagation Analyzer Taken into Production

New Laser Beam Propagation Analyzer Taken into Production

14 May 2013

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has developed a prototype of a new device that uses a liquid lens to measure the beam quality of lasers, not requiring the lens to be physically moved when focusing the laser beam onto a detector, reports.

Lasers have a broad range of applications in science, industry and medicine and, in order to ensure they perform properly, the quality of the beams they produce needs to be measured. As electronic devices shrink in size, such measurement becomes even more critical as laser light now needs to fall on smaller objects. Although there are measuring devices already available on the market, they can be slow and difficult to use.

The new device, which will be produced by British firm Arden Photonics under the name "BQM-50 Beam Propagation Analyser Compact," uses a low-profile, high pixel-density charged-coupled device (CCD) sensor as a detector. The liquid lens applied is located as near as possible to the detection array, further minimizing the device surface, and is supplemented by a conventional lens to maximize the system's optical power.

Tests with the device showed that the commercial liquid lens can change its optical power in response to variations in the voltage signal. The researchers also calibrated the liquid lens by applying a number of fixed lenses to measure its performance.

Simon Hall, the developer of the initial prototype of the device, believes that it can be used to improve the measurement and characterization of lasers without compromising on their accuracy, opening up fresh possibilities for laser control.