Glossary of products

Autocollimators / Alignment Autocollimators
Alignment autocollimators are designed for applications where it is desirable to check the mutual alignment of two or more reflecting surfaces. The operator observes the images from these surfaces though the eyepiece of the autocollimator, as a check for mutual alignment of the surfaces.

Autocollimators are designed for aligning optical components and are ideally suited for alignment of the mirrors, laser rod and Q-switch of the Nd: YAG laser. The optical elements on the laser rail reflect and appear as bright images in the autocollimator. When all reflecting images are superimposed on each other, the optical rail is aligned. Autocollimators are primarily designed for use on plano/parallel reflective surfaces. In some cases, specialty mounts are available to couple the autocollimator to a specific brand of laser.

Precision autocollimators are different than basic alignment autocollimators and they are not offered on our website.


Infrared Viewers / IR Viewers
Infrared Viewers are ideal for detecting Near IR sources. Hand held IR viewers are designed for the observation of near-IR sources that radiate from 0.8-1.3 microns, or you can choose the extended range IR viewers which have a range of 0.8-1.5 microns. For a complete range of IR Viewer applications, visit our IR Viewer section, or click here to jump directly to that section. (place link here to IR applications)


Laser Lamps / Krypton Arc Lamps / Laser Flashlamps
CW (continuous wave) lamps are gas discharge lamps that are mainly used in marking lasers and lasers for welding and cutting. Cascade Laser offers CW lamps in a wide range of power and design as standard replacement lamps. These lamps are most often Krypton filled and are often referred to as Arc Lamps.

Pulse lamps are gas discharge lamps that are used in many applications. By far the most demanding of these is the optical pumping of lasers. The high optical power per pulse requires the best materials and designs to achieve long lifetimes. Cascade Laser provides pulsed lamps in a wide range of power and design as well as standard replacement lamps. These lamps are usually Xenon filled and are often referred to as Flash Lamps.


Laser Power Meters / Laser Energy Meters
Laser power meters are instruments designed to measure laser output power. These meters can be used to measure laser power in watts, usually coupled with a thermopile laser sensor. Laser power meters can be used with both CW (Continuous Wave) lasers, as well as with pulsed or Q Switched lasers by averaging the power striking the detector.

Laser energy meters are used strictly for pulsed applications and are usually coupled with pyroelectric detectors. These meters are designed to measure the pulse energy, usually displayed in Joules.

Some laser meters are designed to measure both laser power and laser energy. With a simple swap of detectors, one meter can be used for multiple laser applications.


Laser Power Probes
Laser power probes are a simple and economical way to measure laser power. Most often, laser power probes are associated with measuring the output power of Nd:YAG and Co2 lasers. Laser power probes are calorimeter based devices, which basically collect the heat applied to the absorbing head and display it in terms of laser power. Laser power is applied to the laser power probe for a set period of time, then the laser power can be read on the dial indicator.

In addition to the standard laser power probes, there are also conical laser power probes for very high power Co2 lasers and there is now a digital version of the laser power probe that reports the laser power on a digital readout.

Laser power probes are great for doing quick spot checks of laser power within an optical system. Laser power probes are not used for doing continuous monitoring of laser power. For continuous monitoring of laser power or to actively adjust a laser for peak performance, a laser power meter would be required.


Laser Protective Windows / Laser Glass
Laser protection windows and laser protective sheets are manufactured from either optical filter acrylic or filter glass, depending on the application. Laser windows are ideal for applications where the laser processing areas need to be seen, but the potentially harmful laser radiation needs to be contained.

Laser protective windows can be used in place of standard windows for viewing into laser production areas, they can be used as small viewing windows within entry access doors, and they are also useful for integrating directly into production equipment so the laser processing can be viewed safely. Acrylic laser protection windows are usually sold by the square foot and are often available in sheets as large a 12 square feet. Laser glass is usually found in plates 6.5" square because of the manufacturing process required to make the filter glass.


Laser Safety Curtains and Laser Barriers
Laser Safety Curtains and Laser Barriers are used as a control measure in order to keep potentially stray laser beams within a specific area.

Important in the selection of the laser curtains and laser barriers, are the factors of flammability and decomposition products of the barrier material. It is essential that the barrier not support combustion or release toxic fumes following laser exposure. Cascade Laser will be happy to assist you with selecting the right material, or we can point you in the right direction to make your selection.


Laser Safety Eyewear / Laser Glasses
Laser safety eyewear is used to protect your eyes from laser exposure that might cause damage. There are hundreds of different laser filters and laser eyewear frame combinations available, to suit any need or application. Laser safety eyewear is usually specified by the engineering group or the laser safety officer within your company. There are many resources available to determine the proper laser eyewear protection for your application. Cascade Laser can help you to determine the proper laser eyewear for your application, or we can guide you to other valuable resources.

The most common frame styles available are the laser spectacle or laser glasses, there are fit-over frames that allow the laser eyewear to be worn over prescription eyewear, and there are the traditional laser google frames that are held on with a strap. Most laser facilities have several different frame styles based on user preferences.


Nd:YAG Rods / Nd:YAG Crystals / YAG Lasers
Nd:YAG is an acronym for NeoDymium-doped Yttrium Aluminium Garnet. The most common use for this material is in Nd:YAG lasers, more commonly referred to simply as YAG lasers.

Nd:YAG is a crystal grown in boules. Laser rods are removed as "cores" from the boule material. The neodymium doping level is chosen based on the application, but in general terms, CW (Continuous Wave) lasers use laser doping levels while pulse lasers use higher doping levels. The most common wavelength associated with YAG lasers is 1064nm, which is invisible and in the near infrared spectrum. While 1064nm is the most common wavelength associated with YAG lasers, the laser can be modified using special crystals to allow operation at 532nm, 355nm, or 266nm.

Cascade Laser offers Nd:YAG laser rods in many lengths and diameters. There are several rods that are considered industry-standard sizes, many of which we keep in inventory. Even though we offer standard sized rods, we can manufacture laser rods to your exact specification. Because Nd:YAG is robust material, laser rods with surface damage can often be refurbished to like-new condition. We refurbish hundred of laser rods per year saving our customers a lot of money versus buying a new laser rod.

YAG lasers are used in many applications including industrial machining, ophthalmology, cosmetic medical treatment, dentistry, and laser range finders used mainly in military applications.


Near IR Display Plates / IR Beam Probes
Near IR Display Plates and IR Beam Probes are versatile instruments that present clear, high contrast images of near IR laser beams. These displays are made with infrared sensitive phosphors, which offer a variety of unique features. Near infrared display plates and probes offer variable image retention times for pulsed lasers, high resolution for CW YAG, and a good response to Gallium Arsenide light-emitting diodes. All near IR lasers are capable of being displayed over a wide sensitivity range.

Some IR display plates and IR beam probes require stimulation by a UV lamp. UV lamps are made especially for this application, as they are compact and can stand on their own next to the display plate. Some IR display plates do not require UV stimulation.


RF Wattmeters / Dummy Loads
The RF Wattmeter offered on our website is a field-proven portable, insertion-type instrument designed to measure both forward and reflected CW power. An RF Wattmeter accurately measures RF power with low added VSWR and insertion loss. QC (quick change) type connectors and a full range of plug-in elements provide a wide choice of frequency ranges and power levels giving our RF Wattment amazing flexibility.

While RF Wattmeters are designed for many applications, we are primarily concerned with applications specific to lasers. Many Nd:YAG lasers use Q Switches and RF Drivers to operate them. From time to time, it is necessary to check the RF output from the RF Driver. As acousto-optic Q Switches age, it is very common for an electrical mismatch to occur, causing poor performance and inefficient coupling between the RF Driver and the Q Switch. The RF Wattmeter is an excellent diagnostic tool for keeping your Q Switched laser performing at its best.

A Dummy Load is a device used as a temporary replacement load, in this case as a replacement for the Q Switch. In some situations, it is difficult to determine if the RF Driver or the Q Switch is at fault. Inserting a dummy load in place of the Q Switch will give an accurate representation of the RF Driver output and helps to determine which unit is defective.


Thermal Image Plates / Co2 Beam Probes
Thermal Image Plates and Co2 laser beam probes display IR laser beams through the use of thermal-sensitive phosphors. When illuminated, these phosphors fluoresce by means of an ultraviolet light. The intensity of the fluorescence decreases with increasing temperature. When an IR laser beam strikes the thermal-sensitive surface, the absorbed energy raises the surface temperature and produces a corresponding thermal image. The produced pattern appears as a dark image on a bright fluorescent background when the surface is illuminated by an ultraviolet light. Different sensitivity ranges are obtained by using different phosphors and by varying the amount of thermal insulation between the phosphors and the anodized aluminum heat sink.


Ultraviolet Viewers / UV Viewers
UV Viewers are hand-held ultraviolet viewers, operating in the deep UV thru the near-infrared region of the spectrum. A high-resolution image converter tube is combined with a high voltage power supply and UV grade optics, to permit a clear view of objects or images which can not otherwise be seen by the naked eye.