Photonics Dictionary

laser optics

Laser optics refers to a broad category of optical components and systems designed for manipulating and controlling laser light. Laser optics play a crucial role in shaping the characteristics of laser beams, such as their intensity, wavelength, polarization, and spatial profile.

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Here are some common types of laser optics components:

Lenses: Lenses are used to focus or collimate laser beams. Plano-convex, plano-concave, and biconvex lenses are commonly used for beam focusing, while cylindrical lenses are used for astigmatism correction or beam shaping.

Mirrors: Mirrors are used to reflect laser beams. High-quality mirrors with specific coatings are used to achieve high reflectivity at the laser's operating wavelength. These can include flat mirrors, concave mirrors for focusing, and dichroic mirrors for separating or combining multiple laser wavelengths.

Beam expanders: Beam expanders consist of multiple lenses or lens systems that magnify the diameter of a laser beam while maintaining its collimation. They are used to increase the beam size for applications such as laser machining or to decrease the beam divergence for long-distance propagation.

Polarization optics: Polarization optics are used to control the polarization state of laser light. Polarizing beamsplitters, waveplates, polarizers, and polarization rotators are commonly used components for manipulating the polarization of laser beams.

Beamsplitters: Beamsplitters divide an incoming laser beam into multiple beams of varying intensities or direct beams in different directions. They are commonly used in interferometers, laser-based imaging systems, and optical setups requiring multiple beams.

Prisms: Prisms are used to deviate or deflect laser beams. They can also be used to disperse the different wavelengths of a laser beam, such as in wavelength tuning applications or spectroscopy.

Neutral density filters: Neutral density filters are used to attenuate the intensity of laser beams without altering their spectral characteristics. They are commonly used for laser power control or balancing beams in multi-beam optical setups.

Achromatic optics: Achromatic lenses and mirrors are designed to minimize chromatic aberration over a broad spectral range. They are used in laser systems where precise focusing or collimation is required over a wide range of wavelengths.

Variable attenuators and modulators: These devices are used to dynamically control the intensity or amplitude of laser beams. They are commonly used in laser systems for modulation, intensity control, or laser beam profiling.

These are just a few examples of the many types of laser optics components used in laser systems across various industries, including telecommunications, materials processing, medical devices, research, and defense. The selection of appropriate laser optics depends on the specific requirements of the laser system and the desired characteristics of the laser beam.
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