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Join Chris Williams as he briefly explains the basics of how to align a laser system onto a target. Covering the difference between a Z-fold laser pattern and a Figure 4 pattern, as well as how to use Edmund Optics laser mirrors with our kinematic mounts. Remember to check out EO's other laser optics and products on our website.
Hi, my name is Chris, and I’m going to be showing you an example of how to align a laser beam. This alignment process requires two mirrors with the kinematic mounts and two targets with a reticle design on them. Or you can use a movable target to give you two points of reference. The two most common set-ups for alignment are the Z-fold and the Figure 4 configurations. You can see the Z shaped pattern the beam makes in the Z-fold configuration. This configuration is specifically useful for aligning multiple laser beams on the same target. The Figure 4 configuration also coins its name from the beam path formed by the reflection off the mirrors. The resulting beam will be orthogonal to the input beam. This configuration is generally more compact than the Z-fold. Remember, always wear eye protection when dealing with lasers. The method for aligning a laser using either configuration is the same, so we’ll be using the Z-fold configuration for the tutorial. Since the placement of the target dictates the path of the beam, a target should strategically be placed near the exit of the mirror with the other point of reference farther away. Any distance is fine, but the farther away the target is, the more precise the alignment will be. In order to correctly align the laser beam, you have to use the first mirror to align the closer target position and the second mirror to align the farther target position. Physically move both mirrors to get the laser beam onto a closer position. You may have to adjust the angles of the mirror slightly. Once aligned, move the target to a farther position. If moving the target to a farther position causes it to become misaligned, use the second mirror to achieve realignment. This process can be repeated until the user feels the beam is properly aligned to both positions. Thanks for watching. If you would like more information or have questions, feel free to contact our Technical Support or click the following link.