Optical EngineeringAlignment of an off-axis parabolic mirror with two parallel He-Ne laser beams
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Two parallel laser beams are used to align an off-axis parabolic mirror without alignment telescope and reference flat. In this method the optical axis of an off-axis parabolic mirror is made parallel to the incident laser beams, in the plane of incidence, by measuring directions of the reflected beams and by changing height and orientation of the mirror. Then, the focal point ofthe off-axis parabolic mirror is automatically found where the two reflected beams cross each other. The alignment of the optical axis to the incident beams is done without knowing focal length and off-axis distance of the mirror. Alignment sensitivity is derived both numerically and analytically. When focal length is 457 mm, off-axis distance is 127 mm, and diameter is 178 mm, the off-axis parabolic mirror is aligned to the incident beams with an angular error of less than 3 mrad.