Conference paper

Use of webcams as tools for alignment and supervision of a Thomson Scattering System in the near infrared

The alignment stability is a major concern for Thomson scattering systems. Even small angular deviations of the laser beams crossing the plasma lead to a loss of the calibration resulting in unreliable measurements of the electron density profile. For the TCV (Tokamak à Configuration Variable) installation, the beam paths from the laser output to the vacuum chamber are ∼25 m long and include several optical components. In order to monitor the alignment on a regular basis, a set of 9 cameras has been installed at several locations along the beam path. They view the actual laser beam pattern by recording the scattered light from an intercepting optical surface (mirror or window) together with the position of markers used for reference. Small webcams are used for this purpose; they feature adequate intensity response at the laser wavelength of 1.06 μm, are compact, cheap and several units may be connected to a server PC simultaneously. The real-time images from all the cameras are accessible from a Web browser. This installation has proven to be extremely useful in the early detection of alignment problems and to assist the alignment procedure [1] CRPP annual report (2005), p. 115.. [1].

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