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Choosing the right detector for laser power and energy measurements



Marla L. Dowell


You may not realize the importance of good laser metrology and its many pitfalls until you realize how much of today’s commonplace conveniences – from long distance communications to LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) to state-of-the-art cutting and marking tools – rely on modern optoelectronic devices. For example, there are numerous laser parameters to measure, such as power, energy, pulse width, angular distribution, spatial uniformity, and spectral content, just to name a few. Which of these is a critical measurement parameter depends on the application. While spectral content is a critical parameter for optical communications, power and spatial uniformity are important for LASIK. Choosing the right measurement tool can be just as confusing – there are optical detectors, beam profilers, spectrum analyzers, wavefront analyzers, and others too numerous to mention.


laser metrology, laser power and energy


Dowell, M. (2008), Choosing the right detector for laser power and energy measurements, Metrologist, [online], (Accessed April 20, 2024)
Created October 1, 2008, Updated February 19, 2017