Abstract

Although new affordable high-power laser technologies enable many processing applications in science and industry, depth control remains a serious technical challenge. In this Letter we show that inline coherent imaging (ICI), with line rates up to 312 kHz and microsecond-duration capture times, is capable of directly measuring laser penetration depth, in a process as violent as kW-class keyhole welding. We exploit ICI’s high speed, high dynamic range, and robustness to interference from other optical sources to achieve automatic, adaptive control of laser welding, as well as ablation, achieving 3D micron-scale sculpting in vastly different heterogeneous biological materials.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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