Photonics Dictionary


An optical device for dividing a beam into two or more separate beams. A simple beamsplitter may be a very thin sheet of glass inserted in the beam at an angle to divert a portion of the beam in a different direction. A more sophisticated type consists of two right-angle prisms cemented together at their hypotenuse faces. The cemented face of one prism is coated, before cementing, with a metallic or dielectric layer having the desired reflecting properties, both in the percentage of reflection and the desired color. In a color television camera, for example, a three-way beamsplitting prism is employed in which multilayer films are deposited on the interfaces to divert red and green light to two vidicons, leaving the blue image to pass through to the third vidicon tube.

Presented by Dr. Will Williams, Smith College

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