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How does it work?

For many years lasers have been the main component when designing large items such as cars, planes, trains and even steel beams for houses, but over the last couple years inventors have been working to make their measurements as precise as possible. The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) have been designing a laser power sensor that works in real-time measurements. This is a small chip sized “smart mirror” used for the manufacturing process of larger items that include car parts. This new “smart mirror” is referred to as a “Radiation Pressure Power Meter” and has the potential to understand exact measurements in order to be rebuilt later on without the actual product, through ways like 3D printing. Having such accuracy will help manufacturer’s move away from human error, save money on products and allow developments to meet engineering specifications.

New vs Old techniques.

In the past using lasers to manufacture large items was the requirement of absorbing all the energy from the laser beam. You also were not able to measure the beam when it was being used, and if the device was moved or shifted while being used both plates would move together. This is where human error occurred, since the continuance of cutting would be off. With the new technique of laser cutting “the net force is strictly the radiation pressure, rather than any ambient influences.” said Lehman, a spokesperson for the NSIT explained about the new device. By adopting this new technique and design, the sensor will be as precise as possible, and make changes during real-time power measurements. In regards to 3D printing with metals, it is useful to create parts that have been traditionally difficult to make with “subtractive” manufacturing, since you will need precise measurements instead of a guesstimate.

There is a future in laser developments and it will change the way that we manufacture our everyday needs like cars, planes and medical devices. The NSIT is working diligently to ensure that these new technology and devices are created with the best interest of the manufacturer to increase productivity and accessibility.