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Distributed optical (laser) energy systems for flexible manufacturing

Objective

The overall objective is to create an automatic laser beam alignment and stabilisation system for high power CO2 laser beams. The system will stabilize the position, size, power and mode of the beam at any specified point, in particular at locations remote (30 m+) from the laser.
A beam control system has been developed which maintains automatically size, alignment and mode of a CO2-laser beam over a long beam path in closed loop. Trials of the integrated system shows that at a distance of 40m pointing accuracy of better than 0.5mm can easily be achieved (i.e. 12.5urad), the beam size being stabilised to less than 2% variation. The laser mode is optimised to the best available M{2}. All control functions are designed to work in conjunction and together with modern and economical CNC-PC.
The specific tasks are :

(i) to research systems for the in-process sensing of the beam location of both the alignment and infra-red power beams

(ii) to research systems for the in-process sensing of the beam size and mode structure

(iii) to design automatic mirror mounts and drive software to automatically control the beam alignment

(iv) to design an automatic collimation device and software to automatically control the beam size at aspecified location

(v) to design an automatic cavity tuning system for the stabilisation of the laser beam mode

(vi) to demonstrate the use of the above system for laser material processing at remote locations.

Coordinator

British Nuclear Fuels plc (BNFL)
Address
Dalton House Risley
WA3 6AS Warrington
United Kingdom

Participants (6)

ALL GMBH
Germany
ENOSA
Spain
FUNDACION MADRID LASER
Spain
LESSMULLER LASERTECHNIK GMBH
Germany
University of Liverpool
United Kingdom
Address
L
L69 3BX Liverpool
WEGMANN-BAASEL GMBH
Germany