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Proceedings Paper

Optical design of static and dynamic laser beam shaping systems
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Paper Abstract

Many commercial, medical and scientific applications of the laser have been developed since its invention. Materials processing applications, like cutting or welding; and medical applications, like corneal surgery are just a few examples that may require a specific beam irradiance distribution to ensure optimal performance. Often, it is possible to apply geometrical optics to shape a laser beam. This common design approach has been thoroughly studied in the past and is based on the ray mapping between the input and output beam. Even though analytic expressions for various ray mapping functions exist, the surfaces of the lenses are still calculated numerically. In this work, we present an alternative approach that is based on the analytic description of the optical design problem by means of functional differential equations. A basic beam expander setup is used to explain how the equations are derived from Fermat's principle and solved using a Taylor series Ansatz. To demonstrate the versatility of this new approach, a further example of a Gaussian to at-top irradiance distribution beam shaping system is solved. So far discussed beam shaping systems are only capable of creating a static intensity distribution. Dynamic beam shaping systems can achieve time-varying distributions; an important functionality for some applications. For example, zoom beam expanders offer variable magnification levels by translating the axial positions of the lenses. It will be shown that this analytic design method is capable of solving such dynamic optical systems. All presented ray tracing results demonstrate a high calculation accuracy and underline the potential of this design approach for refractive beam shaping applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 September 2015
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9629, Optical Systems Design 2015: Illumination Optics IV, 962902 (23 September 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2189984
Show Author Affiliations
Fabian Duerr, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)
Hugo Thienpont, Vrije Univ. Brussel (Belgium)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9629:
Optical Systems Design 2015: Illumination Optics IV
Tina E. Kidger; Stuart David, Editor(s)

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