An optical sensor for real-time monitoring of laser welding based on a spectroscopic study of the optical emission of plasma plumes has been developed. The welding plasma’s electron temperature was contemporarily monitored for three of the chemical species that constitute the plasma plume by use of related emission lines. The evolution of electron temperature was recorded and analyzed during several welding procedures carried out under various operating conditions. A clear correlation between the mean value and the standard deviation of the plasma’s electron temperature and the quality of the welded joint has been found. We used this information to find optimal welding parameters and for real-time detection of weld defects such as crater formation, lack of penetration, weld disruptions, and seam oxidation.
© 2001 Optical Society of America
(120.4820) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Optical systems
(120.6200) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Spectrometers and spectroscopic instrumentation
(120.6780) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Temperature
(140.3390) Lasers and laser optics : Laser materials processing
(350.5400) Other areas of optics : Plasmas
Antonio Ancona, Vincenzo Spagnolo, Pietro Mario Lugarà, and Michele Ferrara, "Optical Sensor for real-time Monitoring of CO2 Laser Welding Process," Appl. Opt. 40, 6019-6025 (2001)