Many applications require splitting a laser beam into 2 to 12 separate beams. The problem that is often observed is that the split beams are unequal in power due to angle of incidence variations or manufacturing variations. There are also some processes that may require adjusting the split ratio because of differences in the actual laser to material interaction at each focused spot. This is common in perforating and scoring applications. This adjustment must also be made without requiring the realignment of the rest of the beam delivery. Existing technology required a variable attenuator on each beam after the split to trim the excess energy to achieve the desired split ratio. A novel system has been developed to allow the variable splitting of a laser beam without steering the output beams. It allows, for example, a CO2 beam to be split 4555 variable to 55%, 45% with minimal (less than 1%) loss in total power. This patented technology compensates for inaccurate angle of incidence problems, optic split ratio variations and situations where the processing conditions may require varying the split ratio. The system has been operated at up to 3000 w from a CO2 laser with good results.

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