, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 187-192

Pulsed laser energy through fiberoptics for generation of ultrasound

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Laser pulses are an effective, noncontacting technique for generating ultrasound in materials. However, for this approach to be practical, a versatile and safe method of delivering the laser pulses must be developed that eliminates exposed beams steered by mirrors and focused by lenses. Investigations by several researchers using fiberoptic delivery systems indicate that fiberoptics may be a viable method for the delivery of laser energy to generate acoustic energy. The main problem experienced with the fiberoptic delivery systems has been the inability to deliver high-energy, short-duration pulses via a fiber for thousands of pulses with no fiber damage and with constant energy output. This paper presents a technique for laser generation of sound using fiberoptics that continuously delivers sustained 20 ns pulses at a pulsing rate of 30 Hz from a doubled, Q-switched Nd:YAG laser operating at 532 nm with output energy from the fiber-optic system up to 26 mJ/pulse. The delivery system is used to excite ultrasound in a molten weld pool as part of a research effort to develop a noncontacting sensing system for real-time weld inspection.