We demonstrate the adverse influence of temporal fluctuations of the phase modulation of a spatial light modulator (SLM) display device on nanosecond laser micromachining. We show that active cooling of the display reduces the amplitude of these fluctuations, and we demonstrate a process synchronization technique developed to compensate for these fluctuations when applying the SLM to laser materials processing. For alternative SLM devices developed specifically for laser wavefront control (which do not exhibit such flickering problems), we show that our process synchronization approach is also beneficial to avoid machining glitches when switching quickly between different phase profiles (and hence beam patterns).
© 2011 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: November 29, 2010
Revised Manuscript: April 18, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: April 19, 2011
Published: June 13, 2011
Rainer J. Beck, Jonathan P. Parry, Jonathan D. Shephard, and Duncan P. Hand, "Compensation for time fluctuations of phase modulation in a liquid-crystal-on-silicon display by process synchronization in laser materials processing," Appl. Opt. 50, 2899-2905 (2011)