An electronic laser controller, based on a computer vision system, has been developed for automatic mode and power control of a high powered CO2 laser. The cross-sectional image of a sample of the output beam is continually analyzed and used to servo regulate both the laser cavity and the excitation level of the discharge. The technique stabilizes average laser output power to within 4%, while maintaining the best output power distribution achievable by the particular laser. Control system design also provides important on-line beam intensity profile data to assist in maximization of operating efficiency.
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