What do you mean by Beam Pointing Stability?

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- GoPhotonics

Jul 18, 2022

Beam pointing stability of a laser is the measure of the change in the pointing position of a laser beam from the actual target over time.

A laser is a collimated beam of light and so it undergoes a minimum or ideally no divergence. This property can be used to focus a laser beam at a certain point. But practically we could find a change or drift in the position of the laser beam. This change in the position over time is known as the beam pointing stability. It is expressed in mill radians or micro radians.

The angular difference between the beam propagating axis and the mechanical axis where the laser system is pointing is known as beam pointing accuracy.

Some of the reasons for beam drifting are mechanical vibrations of the cavity mirrors in the laser system and thermal effects. When a laser beam is subjected to temperature variations, it causes the laser cavity material to expand or contract. This in turn effects the position of the beam pointing.