Monitoring of laser material processing using machine integrated low-coherence interferometry
Laser material processing has become an indispensable tool in modern production. With the availability of high power pico- and femtosecond laser sources, laser material processing is advancing into applications, which demand for highest accuracies such as laser micro milling or laser drilling. In order to enable narrow tolerance windows, a closedloop monitoring of the geometrical properties of the processed work piece is essential for achieving a robust manufacturing process. Low coherence interferometry (LCI) is a high-precision measuring principle well-known from surface metrology. In recent years, we demonstrated successful integrations of LCI into several different laser material processing methods. Within this paper, we give an overview about the different machine integration strategies, that always aim at a complete and ideally telecentric integration of the measurement device into the existing beam path of the processing laser. Thus, highly accurate depth measurements within machine coordinates and a subsequent process control and quality assurance are possible. First products using this principle have already found its way to the market, which underlines the potential of this technology for the monitoring of laser material processing.