31 October 2016 Direct design of laser-beam shapers, zoom-beam expanders, and combinations thereof
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Abstract
Laser sources have become indispensable for industrial materials processing applications like surface treatment, cutting or welding to name a few examples. Many of these applications pose different requirements on the delivered laser irradiance distribution. Some applications might not only favor a specific irradiance distribution (e.g. a at-top) but can additionally benefit from time-varying distributions. We present an overview of a recently developed design approach that allows direct calculation of virtually any refractive or reflective laser beam shaping system. The derived analytic solution is fully described by few initial parameters and does allow an increasingly accurate calculation of all optical surfaces. Unlike other existing direct design methods for laser beam shaping, there is almost no limitation in the number of surfaces that can be calculated with this approach. This is of particular importance for optical designs of dynamic systems such as variable optical beam expanders that require four (or more) optical surfaces. Besides conventional static beam shapers, we present direct designs of zoom beam expanders, and as a novelty, a class of dynamic systems that shape and expand the input beam simultaneously. Such dynamic zoom beam shapers consist of a minimal number of optical elements and provide a much more compact solution, yet achieving excellent overall optical performance throughout the full range of zoom positions.
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Fabian Duerr, Hugo Thienpont, "Direct design of laser-beam shapers, zoom-beam expanders, and combinations thereof", Proc. SPIE 10021, Optical Design and Testing VII, 100210K (31 October 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2245400; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2245400
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