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12 November 1986 A Programmable Solid State Laser Marking System
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The use of pulsed lasers for date stamping and batch coding of products has become an established technique. A common approach is to illuminate a specially prepared stencil mask with the laser pulse and image this onto the target material. To change the inscription the mask must be changed manually or electromechanically, which becomes unwieldy in applications requiring individual inscriptions such as serialisation or the recording of quality control data. This problem can be overcome by the use of a novel acousto-optic technique wherein a row of dot matrix alpha-numerics can be generated from a single laser pulse. By this means any alphanumeric mark can be produced on a shot by shot basis under computer control. A computer controlled marking system is described which utilises this technique together with a flashlamp pumped Nd:YAG laser, in which the single multiple acoustic column deflector, the anamorphic optical train and the laser cavity are all contained within a compact head assembly. The design of the multi-character cell, optical train, beam delivery system and electronics are discussed. A new multiple Q-switched version of the Nd:YAG system is also described enabling a wider range of harder materials to be marked. The technique is applicable also to CO2 TEA laser systems, although a different cell design philisophy is required. Such a system has also been developed and this is briefly outlined. The performance of both systems against various target materials is reviewed.
© (1986) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
M W Hillier, D I Greenwood, and J J Harris "A Programmable Solid State Laser Marking System", Proc. SPIE 0668, Laser Processing: Fundamentals, Applications, and Systems Engineering, (12 November 1986);


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