Laser power measurements

Laser power measurements should be quick and easy. They should not involve time consuming set-up and alignment problems. Ideally, the measurements should also be able to be made at any point in an optical system where losses are likely to occur. Unfortunately, most laser power meters have sacrificed ease of use to gain continuous power readings. However, in most laboratory and production situations, the usual requirement is for a quick spot-check of power with a minimum of disruption. Even when tuning up a laser, researchers have found that it is best to tune for a desirable mode pattern.

The Power Probes are calorimeter-type power meters which measure laser power using a timed exposure. They display average power absorbed on a calibrated readout scale and can be used with continuous or repetitively pulsed lasers ranging from small 20 watt YAG lasers to large 10,000 watt CO2 lasers.

Each power probe is a self-contained unit consisting of an absorbing head, a temperature measuring mechanism, a zeroing knob and a readout dial. In operation, the dial is zeroed. Then the absorbing head on the end of the Power Probe is exposed to the laser beam for a specified time interval. After the Power Probe has been removed from the laser beam, the average laser power can be read out on the dial. The process takes about one minute. If it is necessary to make several power measurements in succession, the absorbing head can be rapidly cooled by immersing in a beaker of water between measurements.


Our digital laser power probe is a completely portable, easy-to-use calorimeter type power meter. The instrument consists of two components: a microprocessor-based digital meter and a probe head.

Different probe heads are available to cover various laser types with power ranges from a few watts to over 11 kW. The meter accepts any of the probe heads so it is easy to change power ranges as well as check a reading using a second probe head of the same type.


All digital power meters may be ordered in individual components or as a complete kit.

The kit consists of:

  • Digital power probe meter
  • Probe head (model to be specified upon purchase)
  • Padded cover to protect probe head
  • 1.5 m long unmounted thermocouple accessory to permit the meter to be used as a digital thermometer
  • Padded carrying case large enough to accommodate a second probe head

Probe heads for the series H models with thermal element connectors for the older digital readouts of model 30 are available on request.


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