Use of camera-based systems to characterize laser beam spatial profile

For a job done right, you need the right tools. And for optimal and repeatable results, you need those tools to work exactly as expected.

Laser beam profiling cameras like those in the Beamage series help identify laser beams that aren't performing optimally and provide the intel required to correct that situation.

Your laser system's output might not be what you expect...

Even a brand-new laser is only "exactly as advertised" to within certain tolerances. With age, that laser source's exact characteristics can drift even further.

Imperfect delivery system

Laser setups need both a laser source and a laser delivery system. Even with a perfect source, the delivery system still needs to get the laser beam to the exact shape and location desired.

The laser delivery can vary for reasons including:

  • environmental changes (e.g. variations in heat and humidity)
  • contamination with dust or other impurities
  • damaged optics (laser-induced or otherwise)
  • assembly errors

To get the most useful beam profile readings, it is recommended to measure the beam profile as close as possible to the target's position. This ensures that all sources of error are accounted for and that you get the most accurate representation of what your target “sees”.

Gentec-EO's high-accuracy laser beam measurement instruments help engineers, scientists and technicians in all sorts of laser applications from the factory to the hospital, laboratory and research center. Learn about our solutions for these measurement types:

Why beam profile matters

Laser beam profiles are precise snapshots of the laser's cross-section, showing how the intensity is distributed along both the X and Y axes.

Some experiments, equipment, and processes are extremely sensitive to small changes in intensity. By measuring the beam profile, you avoid relying on more-or-less accurate assumptions. This allows:

  • consistent, repeatable results
  • quality guarantees (e.g. certificates of compliance)
  • easier and better alignment
  • avoiding laser-induced damage

Beam profile is used to calculate beam quality

Beam profile measurement is also part of measuring beam quality, an important laser characteristic. For more information on beam quality, take a look at this short post on beam quality or read this more in-depth article on beam quality.

If an ISO-compliant measure of beam quality is what you need, we suggest taking a look at the Beamage-M2 automated M-squared measurement system.

Advantages of camera-based profile measurement

Camera-based laser profile measurement systems like those in the Beamage series are fast and easy to set up. They offer high resolution and large apertures, fast data acquisition and transfer rates, and ISO-compliant measurements.

Different models in the series are tweaked for different wavelengths. The Beamage-4M is for use between 350 and 1150nm, whereas the infrared model, Beamage-4M-IR, can be used between 1495 and 1595nm. For extra-large beams in the 350-1150nm range, the Beamage-4M-Focus boasts a fiber optic taper and a huge 20.5 x 20.5 mm aperture.

The camera’s software is powerful yet intuitive. It allows for easy subtraction of ambient light, multiple beam diameter definitions, and live visualization of measurements using 4 different display modes (3D, 2D, Gaussian fit, and XY).

And in case the built-in functions don't suffice, a software development kit (SDK) is also available, to help design custom scripts and workflows.

Partners for accuracy, but also customization

At Gentec-EO, we take pride in our capacity to adapt our off-the-shelf products for extraordinary applications, from high-powers to exotic wavelengths.

For any questions, or if you’d like to discuss customizations to fit your specific needs, please feel free to contact our knowledgeable staff.


Gentec Electro-Optics is specialized in laser beam and terahertz source measurement and analysis. With an outstanding 50-year track record of innovation, developing and providing state-of the-art technologies to the laser market, Gentec-EO has become The Expert of the laser beam measurement field. For all sorts of laser applications from the factory to the hospital, laboratory and research center, Gentec-EO offers the broadest range of off-the-shelf and custom solutions, and stands ready to serve you now and in the future.
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