1 May 2014 New vistas in refractive laser beam shaping with an analytic design approach
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Many commercial, medical and scientific applications of the laser have been developed since its invention. Some of these applications require a specific beam irradiance distribution to ensure optimal performance. Often, it is possible to apply geometrical methods to design laser beam shapers. This common design approach is based on the ray mapping between the input plane and the output beam. Geometric ray mapping designs with two plano-aspheric lenses have been thoroughly studied in the past. Even though analytic expressions for various ray mapping functions do exist, the surface profiles of the lenses are still calculated numerically. In this work, we present an alternative novel design approach that allows direct calculation of the rotational symmetric lens profiles described by analytic functions. Starting from the example of a basic beam expander, a set of functional differential equations is derived from Fermat's principle. This formalism allows calculating the exact lens profiles described by Taylor series coefficients up to very high orders. To demonstrate the versatility of this new approach, two further cases are solved: a Gaussian to at-top irradiance beam shaping system, and a beam shaping system that generates a more complex dark-hollow Gaussian (donut-like) irradiance profile with zero intensity in the on-axis region. The presented ray tracing results confirm the high accuracy of all calculated solutions and indicate the potential of this design approach for refractive beam shaping applications.
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Fabian Duerr, Fabian Duerr, Hugo Thienpont, Hugo Thienpont, "New vistas in refractive laser beam shaping with an analytic design approach", Proc. SPIE 9131, Optical Modelling and Design III, 91310A (1 May 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2051900; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2051900

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