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Photonics Dictionary

acousto-optic modulators and deflectors

An acousto-optic modulator (AOM) is a device that utilizes the interaction between sound waves and light waves to modulate or control the intensity, frequency, phase, or direction of laser beams. It consists of a crystal or medium through which the laser beam passes and a transducer that generates an acoustic wave within the crystal. When a laser beam passes through the crystal, it interacts with the acoustic wave, causing the light to diffract and change its properties based on the frequency and intensity of the sound wave. This allows for rapid and precise modulation of laser beams, making AOMs useful in various applications such as laser communication, laser spectroscopy, and laser printing.

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An acousto-optic deflector (AOD) is a specific type of acousto-optic device that is designed to deflect or steer laser beams in different directions. Similar to AOMs, AODs utilize the interaction between sound waves and light waves to achieve this deflection. By applying an acoustic wave to the crystal, the AOD can deflect the incident laser beam at an angle determined by the frequency and intensity of the acoustic wave. AODs are commonly used in laser scanning systems, optical tweezers, laser display systems, and other applications where precise control over the direction of laser beams is required.
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