Addressing Shortcomings in Manual Alignment of Laser Optics via Automation Tools

Ildar Rakhmatulin, Donald Risbridger, David Robb, Richard Carter, Michael John Chantler, Mustafa Suphi Erden

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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The alignment of laser beams in optical systems remains a frequently laborious task. There are many different iterative techniques for adjusting the position of the various components, but these are all time consuming by nature. In this work we have recorded data of manual alignment, analysed this data from the point of view of why and how to automate the process, developed a simulator of the alignment setup, developed an automation algorithm, and demonstrated automated laser alignment with the simulator platform. For monitoring and recording the manual process of aligning a laser beam, we prepared an optical setup where human experts could align a laser beam while the positions of the actuator screws in the kinematic mirror mounts could be recorded alongside the location of the laser spot on the apertures. We recorded and analyzed alignment data with an expert subject and compared the human actions to the nominal steps of the alignment procedure as described by the conventional alignment strategy of “Beam Walk”. Based on the obtained data, we identified shortcomings in manual alignments and, to eliminate them, developed an automation program that aligns the laser beam at both apertures following the Beam Walk strategy. We applied the automation on the simulation environment with various random starting positions of the laser beam and in each trial the algorithm achieved alignment. Overall, in this paper we perform an investigation of actual manual alignment data with a physical setup, derive inspirations from this process for automation, and implement and demonstrate an automated alignment algorithm on a simulator of the setup.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication19th IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE)
ISBN (Electronic)9798350320695
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2023


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