Beam measurement device based on mobile phone lens technology commercialised

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Arden Photonics has commercialised a laser beam measurement device originally developed by the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL). The BQM-50 beam propagation analyser is based on liquid lens technology used in mobile phone cameras, and offers customers a quicker and easier way of characterising laser beams to optimise their performance.

The device uses a low-profile, high pixel-density camera and is compact and light enough to be bolted onto equipment - removing the need to interrupt an operation to measure the beam.

The NPL developed a small, accurate prototype camera for characterising laser beams using commercially available liquid lens technology for mobile phone cameras. This new compact laser measurement device has been taken into production by Arden Photonics as the BQM-50.

The partnership between the NPL and Arden Photonics is part of the NPL Technology Applied, a co-branding scheme for instrumentation and software technology developed by the NPL and incorporated into commercial products.

The BQM-50 is ideal for measuring lasers used in applications such as surveying, medical diagnosis, precision measurement, scanning and lidar. It is also an important tool for laser safety classification, allowing retinal hazard to be assessed.

Simon Hall from NPL, who developed the prototype, said: ‘Using commercially available technology allows us to dispense with the slow, bulky and expensive movement slides usually required to measure lasers. The BQM-50 can measure laser beams quickly and effectively – just as you can zoom in and out in milliseconds on your phone camera.’

David Robinson, managing director of Arden Photonics, said: ‘By partnering with NPL and taking the BQM-50 into production, we can offer customers a more flexible and usable solution, at lower cost than other products on the market. This will have a huge implication for the measurement of beams used in a wide range of applications, from laser eye surgery to measuring car doors on a production line.’