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Laser Absorptivity Measuring Device


A compact high-throughput diagnostic tool for characterizing laser-based processes


Characterizing the laser absorptivity and efficiency compensation of laser-based processes can provide useful avenues for defect characterization and mitigation; however, laser-metal interactions during welding and metal additive manufacturing are notoriously complex. Existing techniques for measuring laser absorption efficiency rely on reflective rather than direct measurements, require the use of simulative samples that add assumptions, and/or involve large processing setups that behave differently than the genuine process.

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have invented a compact diagnostic tool for directly measuring the absorptivity of laser-based processes such as powder bed fusion additive manufacturing and welding. The device’s small integrating hemisphere with a reflective baseplate can be placed on top of any processing substrate directly inside the equipment and can measure reflections of a moving heat source. An optical diode ensures capture of all back-reflected light. By correlating transience with defect formation, this device can lead to enhanced performance, properties, and defect mitigation through improved process

monitoring and control.


  • Compact battery-powered unit with simple setup
  • Provides high-resolution laser measurement and calibration data in real-time
  • Capable of performing over a wide range of incident laser powers (mW to kW)
  • Contributes to enhanced performance via process monitoring and control
  • Provides critical data for computational modeling

Applications and Industries

  • Additive manufacturing
  • Laser welding, brazing, and soldering
  • Laser cutting/drilling, micromachining, and selective material removal
  • Laser engraving
  • Laser cleaning

Additional Information

This system has been used to collect absorptivity data in a variety of environments, including inside of additive manufacturing equipment, laser welding equipment, and small-scale optomechanics environments.

Technology IDSD 15177Development StageProduction - TRL 7AvailabilityAvailablePublished03/03/2022Last Updated03/03/2022