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Innovative Low-cost Laser Ultrasonic Receiver for Industrial Applications

In the scope of a research project awarded by the National Science Foundation, a new laser system was developed with the goal of providing an affordable and reliable laser ultrasonic solution to the industry. The recently developed optical receiver is based on the random processing of laser speckles using an array of detectors. It relies on an innovative electronic demodulation which can process and sum all signals provided by the detectors simultaneously with a 20 MHz bandwidth. The new architecture is equivalent to integrating 50 or 100 single detector interferometers in parallel in one compact package. Contrary to classical single detector interferometers, which are disturbed by laser speckles, the new system benefits from it and provides a stable and powerful ultrasonic signal. The advantage of the technique is to reduce the amount of laser power needed for the inspection of rough surfaces while staying insensitive to vibrations caused by a harsh environment. The new receiver was tested on numerous applications of interest for the steel, aerospace, glass and automotive industry. In this expose, we will present the principle of the new receiver, discuss its advantages and show numerous examples of non-contact ultrasonic tests performed with it on steel, aluminum, composites, plastics and ceramics at high temperature or in motion.

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