3 March 2015 Optical alignment influenced aberrations in laser beam delivery systems and their correction
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Abstract
Industrial high power laser systems are often evaluated based upon spatial profile of the beam before they are brought to focus for processing materials. It is therefore often assumed that if the raw beam profile is good that the focus is equally as good. The possibility of having good optics and poor alignment or bad optics and good alignment and therefore not achieve a good focal spot is quite high due to the fact that a raw beam spatial profile does not manifest third order aberrations. In such instances the focal spot will contain aberrations when there are slightly misaligned, poor quality, high power optics in the system such as a beam expander or eye piece and objective of a 3-axis galvo. Likewise, if the beam itself is not on axis, the third order aberrations of astigmatism and coma are likely to appear but again not be seen in the unfocused beams spatial profile. The third order aberrations of astigmatism, coma and spherical aberration can significantly alter both the size and spatial profile at the focus resulting in out of spec performance. The impact of beam and zoom expanders and their alignment in beam delivery systems is investigated by measuring both the far field unfocused and the far field focus beams using an all passive beam waist analyzer system.
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Michael Scaggs, Gil Haas, "Optical alignment influenced aberrations in laser beam delivery systems and their correction", Proc. SPIE 9343, Laser Resonators, Microresonators, and Beam Control XVII, 93430T (3 March 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2076630; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2076630
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