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**shape the laser beam by using lenses and other optical elements. In
**

general, laser-beam propagation can be approximated by assum-

ing that the laser beam has an ideal Gaussian intensity profile,

corresponding to the theoretical TEM

00

mode. Coherent Gaussian

beams have peculiar transformation properties that require special

consideration. In order to select the best optics for a particular laser

application, it is important to understand the basic properties of

Gaussian beams. Unfortunately, the output from real-life lasers is

not truly Gaussian (although helium neon lasers and argon-ion

lasers are a very close approximation). To accommodate this variance,

a quality factor, M

2

(called the “M-square” factor), has been defined

to describe the deviation of the laser beam from a theoretical

Gaussian. For a theoretical Gaussian, M

2

=1; for a real laser beam,

M

2

>1. Helium neon lasers typically have an M

2

factor that is less

than 1.1. For ion lasers, the M

2

factor is typically between 1.1 and

1.3. Collimated TEM

00

diode laser beams usually have an M

2

factor

ranging from 1.1 to 1.7. For high-energy multimode lasers, the M

2

factor can be as high as 3 or 4. In all cases, the M

2

factor, which

varies significantly, affects the characteristics of a laser beam and

cannot be neglected in optical designs.

In the following discussion, we will first treat the characteristics

of a theoretical Gaussian beam (M

2

= 1) and then show how these

characteristics change as the beam deviates from the theoretical. In

all cases, a circularly symmetric wavefront is assumed, as would be

the case for a helium neon laser or an argon-ion laser. Diode laser

beams are asymmetric and often astigmatic, which causes their

transformation to be more complex.

Although in some respects component design and tolerancing

for lasers are more critical than they are for conventional optical

components, the designs often tend to be simpler since many of

the constants associated with imaging systems are not present. For

instance, laser beams are nearly always used on axis, which eliminates

the need to correct asymmetric aberration. Chromatic aberrations

are of no concern in single-wavelength lasers, although they are

critical for some tunable and multiline laser applications. In fact, the

only significant aberration in most single-wavelength applications

is primary (third-order) spherical aberration.

Scatter from surface defects, inclusions, dust, or damaged coat-

ings is of greater concern in laser-based systems than in incoherent

systems. Speckle content arising from surface texture and beam

coherence can limit system performance.

Because laser light is generated coherently, it is not subject to

some of the limitations normally associated with incoherent sources.

All parts of the wavefront act as if they originate from the same

point, and consequently the emergent wavefront can be precisely

defined. Starting out with a well-defined wavefront permits more

precise focusing and control of the beam than would otherwise be

possible.

In order to gain an appreciation of the principles and limitations

of Gaussian beam optics, it is necessary to understand the nature of

the laser output beam. In TEM

00

mode, the beam emitted from a laser

is a perfect plane wave with a Gaussian transverse irradiance profile

as shown in figure 2.1. The Gaussian shape is truncated at some

diameter either by the internal dimensions of the laser or by some

limiting aperture in the optical train. To specify and discuss propa-

gation characteristics of a laser beam, we must define its diameter

in some way. The commonly adopted definition is the diameter at

which the beam irradiance (intensity) has fallen to 1/e

2

(13.5%) of its

peak, or axial, value.

BEAM WAIST AND DIVERGENCE

Diffraction causes light waves to spread transversely as they

propagate, and it is therefore impossible to have a perfectly collimated

beam. The spreading of a laser beam is in precise accord with the

predictions of pure diffraction theory; aberration is totally insignif-

icant in the present context. Under quite ordinary circumstances,

the beam spreading can be so small it can go unnoticed. The fol-

lowing formulas accurately describe beam spreading, making it

easy to see the capabilities and limitations of laser beams. The

notation is consistent with much of the laser literature, particularly

with Siegman’s excellent Introduction to Lasers and Masers

(McGraw-Hill).

Introduction to Gaussian Beam Optics

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2.2 1 Visit Us OnLine! www.mellesgriot.com

Figure 2.1 Irradiance profile of a Gaussian TEM

00

mode

13.5

CONTOUR RADIUS

41.5w 1.5w

20

40

60

80

100

4w 0 w

P

E

R

C

E

N

T

I

R

R

A

D

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C

E

Chpt. 2 Final 7/30/99 4:59 PM Page 2.2

Visit Us Online! www.mellesgriot.com 12.3

where z is the distance propagated from the plane where the wavefront

is flat, l is the wavelength of light, w

0

is the radius of

the 1/e

2

irradiance contour at the plane where the wavefront is flat, w(z)

is the radius of the 1/e

2

contour after the wave has propagated a

distance z, and R(z) is the wavefront radius of curvature after

propagating a distance z. R(z) is infinite at z = 0, passes through

a minimum at some finite z, and rises again toward infinity as

z is further increased, asymptotically approaching the value of z itself.

The plane z = 0 marks the location of a Gaussian waist, or a place

where the wavefront is flat, and w

0

is called the beam waist radius.

A waist occurs naturally at the midplane of a symmetric confocal

cavity. Another waist occurs at the surface of the planar mirror

of the quasi-hemispherical cavity used in many Melles Griot lasers.

The irradiance distribution of the Gaussian TEM

00

beam,

namely,

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s

R(z) = z 1 +

w

z

and

w(z) = w

z

w

0

2

0

0

2

p

l

l

p

j

(

,

\

,

(

,

¸

,

,

,

]

]

]

]

]

+

j

(

,

\

,

(

,

¸

,

,

]

]

]

]

2

2

1 2

1

/

Even if a Gaussian TEM

00

laser-beam wavefront were made

perfectly flat at some plane, with all elements moving in precisely

parallel directions, it would quickly acquire curvature and begin

spreading in accordance with

where w = w(z) and P is the total power in the beam, is the same

at all cross sections of the beam. The invariance of the form of the

distribution is a special consequence of the presumed Gaussian

distribution at z = 0. If a uniform irradiance distribution had been

presumed at z = 0, the pattern at z = ∞would have been the familiar

Airy disc pattern given by a Bessel function, while the pattern at

intermediate z values would have been enormously complicated. (See

Born and Wolf, Principles of Optics, 2d ed, Pergamon/ Macmillan).

Simultaneously, as R(z) asymptotically approaches z for large

z, w(z) asymptotically approaches the value

where z is presumed to be much larger than pw

0

/l so that the 1/e

2

irradiance contours asymptotically approach a cone of angular

radius

This value is the far-field angular radius of the Gaussian TEM

00

beam. The vertex of the cone lies at the center of the waist (see

figure 2.2).

It is important to note that, for a given value of l, variations of

beam diameter and divergence with distance z are functions of a

single parameter. This is often chosen to be w

0

, or the beam waist

radius.

The direct relationship between beam waist and divergence

(v ∝1/w

0

) must always be considered when focusing a TEM

00

laser

beam. Because of this relationship, the spectrally selective coating

of the spherical output mirror of a Melles Griot laser is actually sup-

ported on the concave inner surface of a weak meniscus lens. In

this paraxial, high f-number configuration, the lens introduces no

significant aberration. A new beam waist, larger than the intra-

cavity beam waist, is formed by this lens near its output pupil. The

transformed beam has greatly reduced divergence, which is

advantageous for most applications. Note that it is the 1/e

2

beam

diameter of this extracavity waist that is published in this catalog.

As an example to illustrate the relationship between beam waist

and divergence, let us consider the real case of a Melles Griot red

5-mW HeNe laser, 05 LHR 151, with a specified beam diameter of

0.8 mm (i.e., w

0

= 0.4 mm). In the far-field region,

I (r) = I e =

2P

w

e

0

2r w

2

2r w

2 2 2 2

4 4 / /

,

p

w(z)

z

w

0

≅

l

p

v

l

p

=

w(z)

z

=

w

0

.

w

w0

w0

z

w

0

1

e

2

irradiance surface

v

a

sy

m

p

to

tic co

n

e

Figure 2.2 Growth in 1/e

2

contour radius with distance

propagated away from Gaussian waist

(2.2)

(2.1)

(2.3)

(2.4)

(2.5)

Using the asymptotic approximation, at a distance of z = 100 m,

v

p p

=

w

=

632.8

( (0.4)

= 5.04 10 rad.

0

6

4

l ×

×

10

5

5

)

w(z) = z

= (10 5.04 10

= 50.4 mm

5 4

v

)( ) ×

4

which is approximately 126 times larger than w

0

.

Chpt. 2 Final 9/2/99 4:07 PM Page 2.3

2.4 1 Visit Us OnLine! www.mellesgriot.com

For the expanded beam, the ratio w(z)/w

0

is only a factor of 12.6

for a distance of 100 m, but it is a factor of 126 for the same distance

when the laser is used alone.

graphically in figure 2.4. If we put this value for w

0

(optimum) back

into the expression for w(z), w(z) = √}} 2 w

0

. Thus, for this example,

w(100) = √}} 2 (4.48) = 6.3 mm.

By turning this previous equation around, we can define a

distance, called the Rayleigh range (z

R

), over which the beam radius

spreads by a factor of √}} 2 as

If we use beam-expanding optics (such as the 09 LBC, 09 LBX,

09 LBZ, or 09 LCM series), which allow us to adjust the position

of the beam waist, we can actually double the distance over which

beam divergence is minimized. Figure 2.5 illustrates this situation,

in which the beam starts off at a value of w(z

R

) = (2lz /p)

1/2

, goes

through a minimum value of w

0

= w(z

R

)/√}} 2 , and then returns to

w(z

R

). By focusing the beam-expanding optics to place the beam

waist at the midpoint, we can restrict beam spread to a factor of √}} 2

over a distance of 2z

R

, as opposed to just z

R

.

This result can now be used in the problem of finding the starting

beam radius that yields the minimum beam diameter and beam

spread over 100 m. Using 2z

R

= 100, or z

R

= 50, and l= 632.8 nm,

we get a value of w(z

R

) = (2lz /p)

1/2

= 4.5 mm, and w

0

= 3.2 mm.

Thus, the optimum starting beam radius is the same as previously

calculated. However, by focusing the expander we achieve a final

beam radius that is no larger than our starting beam radius, while

still maintaining the √}} 2 factor in overall variation.

Alternately, if we started off with a beam radius of 6.3 mm

(√}} 2 w

0

), we could focus the expander to provide a beam waist of

w

0

= 4.5 mm at 100 m, and a final beam radius of 6.3 mm at 200 m.

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OPTIMUMCOLLIMATION

Typically, one has a fixed value for w

0

and uses the previously given

expression to calculate w(z) for an input value of z. However, one can

also utilize this equation to see how final beam radius varies with start-

ing beam radius at a fixed distance, z. Figure 2.4 shows the Gaussian

beam propagation equation plotted as a function of w

0

, with the

particular values of l = 632.8 nm and z = 100 m.

The beam radius at 100 m reaches a minimum value for a starting

beam radius of about 4.5 mm. Therefore, if we wanted to achieve

the best combination of minimum beam diameter and minimum

beam spread (or best collimation) over a distance of 100 m, our

optimum starting beam radius would be 4.5 mm. Any other starting

value would result in a larger beam at z = 100 m.

We can find the general expression for the optimum starting

beam radius for a given distance, z. Doing so yields

Using this optimum value of w

0

will provide the best combina-

tion of minimum starting beam diameter and minimum beam

spread (ratio of w(z)/w

0

) over the distance z. The previous example

of z = 100 and l=632.8 nm gives w

0

(optimum) = 4.48 mm, shown

STARTING BEAM RADIUS w0 (mm)

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(

m

m

)

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

0

20

40

60

80

100

Figure 2.4 Beam radius at 100 m as a function of starting

beam radius for a HeNe laser at 632.8 nm

w (optimum) =

z

0

1/2

l

p

j

(

,

\

,

(

.

(2.6)

Figure 2.3 Laser beam expander 09 LBM 013 (reversed

telescope)

w(z) =

(10

= 5.04 mm.

5 4

)( . ) 5 04 10

10

×

5

Suppose instead that we decide to reduce the divergence

by directing the laser into a beam expander (reversed telescope)

of angular magnification m = 10, such as Melles Griot model

09 LBM013 (figure 2.3). Consider the case in which the expander

is focused to form a waist of radius w

0

= 4.0 mm at the expander

output lens. Since v ∝ 1/w

0

, by definition, v is reduced by a factor

of 10; therefore, for z = 100 m,

z =

w

with

w(z w

R

0

2

R 0

p

l

) . 2

(2.7)

Chpt. 2 Final 7/30/99 4:59 PM Page 2.4

Visit Us Online! www.mellesgriot.com 12.5

INCORPORATING M

2

INTO THE BASIC EQUATIONS

The following discussion is taken from the analysis by Sun [Haiyin

Sun, “Thin Lens Equation for a Real Laser Beam with Weak Lens

Aperture Truncation,” Opt. Eng. 37, no. 11 (November 1998)]. From

equation 2.5 we see that, for a theoretical Gaussian beam, the small-

est possible value of the radius-divergence product is

w

0

v = l/p.

For a real laser beam, we have

w

0M

v

M

= M

2

l/p >l/p

where w

0M

and v

M

are the 1/e

2

intensity waist radius and the far-

field half-divergent angle of the real laser beam, respectively, and

M

2

factors into equations 2.1 and 2.2 as follows:

w

M

(z) = w

0M

[1+(zlM

2

/pw

0M

2

)

2

]

1/2

R

M

(z) = z[1+(pw

0M

2

/zlM

2

)

2

]

where w

M

and R

M

are the 1/e

2

intensity radius of the beam and the

beam wavefront radius at z, respectively.

The definition for the Rayleigh range (equation 2.7) remains

the same for a real laser beam and becomes

z

R

= pw

0R

2

/l.

Together, equations 2.9, 2.10, and 2.11 form a complete set to

denote the input of a real laser beam into a thin lens.

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beam expander

w

0

zR zR

w(–zR) = √2w0

w(zR) = √2w0

Figure 2.5 Focusing a beam expander to minimize beam

radius and spread over a specified distance

(2.8)

(2.9)

(2.10)

(2.11)

Melles Griot manufactures many types of lasers and

laser systems for laboratory and OEM applications.

These, along with a wide variety of laser accessories, are

found in Chapter 41 through 47. Laser types include

helium neon (HeNe) and helium cadmium (HeCd) lasers;

argon, krypton, and mixed gas (argon/krypton) ion

lasers; diode lasers, and diode-pumped solid-state

(DPSS) lasers.

LASERS AND LASER SYSTEMS

Chpt. 2 Final 9/2/99 4:05 PM Page 2.5

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2.6 1 Visit Us OnLine! www.mellesgriot.com

Transformation and Magnification by Simple Lenses

It is already clear from the previous discussion that Gaussian

beams transform in an unorthodox manner. Siegman uses matrix

transformations to treat the general problem of Gaussian beam

propagation with lenses and mirrors. A less rigorous, but in many

ways more insightful, approach to this problem has been developed

by Self [S.A. Self, “Focusing of Spherical Gaussian Beams,” Appl.

Opt. 22, no. 5 (March 1983): 658]. Self shows a method to model

transformations of a laser beam through simple optics, under

paraxial conditions, by calculating the Rayleigh range and beam

waist location following each individual optical element. These

parameters are calculated using a formula analogous to the

well-known standard lens formula. Melles Griot engineers have

found this method to be particularly useful. The main points are as

follows.

The standard lens equation can be written in dimensionless

form:

1

s + z s f)

+

1

s

=

1

f

or, in dimensionless form,

1

(s/f) + (z /f) /(s/f 1)

+

1

(s /f)

= 1.

R

2

R

2

/( 4

4

″

″

1

s/f

+

1

s /f

= 1.

″

For Gaussian beams, Self has derived an analogous formula by

assuming that the waist of the input beam represents the object,

and the waist of the output beam represents the image. The for-

mula is expressed in terms of the Rayleigh range of the input beam.

In the regular form,

In the far-field limit as z

R

→ 0, this reduces to the geometric

optics equation. A plot of (s/f) versus (s″/f) for various values of

(z

R

/f) is shown in figure 2.6. There are three distinct regions of

interest. For a positive thin lens, these correspond to real object

and real image, real object and virtual image, and virtual object

and real image.

The main differences between Gaussian beam optics and

geometric optics, highlighted in such a plot, can be summarized as

follows:

$ There is a maximum and minimum image distance for

Gaussian beams.

$ The maximum image distance occurs at s = f + z

R

, rather than

at s = f.

$ There is a common point in the Gaussian beam expression

at s/f = s″/f =1. For a simple positive lens, this is the point at

which the incident beam has a waist at the front focus and the

emerging beam has a waist at the rear focus.

(2.12)

(2.13)

(2.14)

Figure 2.6 Plot of the lens formula for Gaussian beams,

with normalized Rayleigh range of the input beam as

the parameter

0

1

2

4

5

41 0 1 2 3 4 5

3

0

0.25

1

2

parameter

z

R

f

( )

I

M

A

G

E

D

I

S

T

A

N

C

E

(

s

"

/

f

)

OBJECT DISTANCE (s/f)

0.50

42 43 44 45

41

42

43

44

$ A lens appears to have a shorter focal length as z

R

/f increases

from zero (i.e., there is a Gaussian focal shift).

Self recommends calculating z

R

, w

0

, and the position of w

0

for

each optical element in the system in turn so that the overall trans-

formation of the beam can be calculated. To carry this out, it is

also necessary to consider magnification: w

0

″/w

0

. The magnification

is given by

m =

w

w

=

1

1 (s/f) +(z /f)

0

0

R

″

4

[ ]

¦

¦

¦

¦

¦

¦

2

2

.

z = m z

R

2

R

″ .

The Rayleigh range of the output beam depends on m

2

, as can

be seen from the previous example, and is given by

All the above formulas are written in terms of the Rayleigh range

of the input beam. Unlike the geometric case, the formulas are not

symmetric with respect to input and output beam parameters. For

back tracing beams, it is useful to know the Gaussian beam formula

in terms of the Rayleigh range of the output beam:

1

s

+

1

s + z /(s f )

=

1

f

.

R

″ ″ ″

2

4

(2.15)

(2.16)

(2.17)

Chpt. 2 Final 7/30/99 4:59 PM Page 2.6

Visit Us Online! www.mellesgriot.com 12.7

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s

M

2

AND THE LENS EQUATION

For real-world beams, the lens equation can be modified to

incorporate M

2

. Equation 2.12 becomes

1/[s+(z

R

/M

2

)

2

/(s-f)]+1/2″ = 1/f,

and equation 2.14 transforms to

1/[(s/f)+(z

R

/M

2

f)

2

/(s/f-1)]+1/(s″/f) = 1.

BEAM CONCENTRATION

The spot size and focal position of a Gaussian beam can be

determined from the previous equations. Two cases of particular

interest occur when s = 0 (the input waist is at the first principal

surface of the lens system) and s = f (the input waist is at the front

focal point of the optical system). For s = 0, we get

If a particularly small spot is desired, there is an advantage to

using a well-corrected high-numerical-aperture microscope objective

(see Chapter 29, Microscope Components, Spatial Filters and

Apertures) to concentrate the laser beam. The principal advantage

of the microscope objective over a simple lens is the diminished

level of spherical aberration. Although microscope objectives are

often used for this purpose, they are never designed for use at the

infinite conjugate ratio. Suitably optimized lens systems, which

Melles Griot can design and build on special request, are more

effective in beam-concentration tasks.

DEPTH OF FOCUS

Depth of focus (±Dz), that is, the range in image space over

which the focused spot diameter remains below an arbitrary limit,

can be derived from the formula

For the case of s = f, the equations for image distance and waist

size reduce to the following:

Substituting typical values into these equations yields nearly

identical results, and for most applications, the simpler, second set

of equations can be used.

In many applications, a primary aim is to focus the laser to a very

small spot, as shown in figure 2.7, by using either a single lens or a

combination of several lenses. Melles Griot has designed a series of

single lenses optimized for this specific purpose. For example, by

using a 05 LHR 151 laser and a focusing singlet, 01 LFS 033, the

formula should be modified as follows:

The factor 4/3 arises because of the careful balance of spherical

aberration and diffraction designed into the singlet. The ratio f/w

is proportional to lens f-number, but is not equal to it.

s =

f

1 + ( f/ w

w

=

f/ w

1

+

( f/ w

.

0

2

0

0

2

″

l p

l p

l p

)

)

/

2

2

1 2

[ ]

s = f

w

=

f/ w

0

″

l p

.

w(z)

4 f

3 w

=

4(632.8 10

)

= 4.70 10 mm

= 4.7 m.

6

3

≅

×

×

l

p p

m

4

4

)( )

( )( .

7

3 0 4

w(z) = w 1 +

z

w

0

0

2

l

p

j

(

,

\

,

(

,

¸

,

,

]

]

]

]

2

1 2 /

.

Dz

0.32 w

0

2

≈ ±

p

l

.

Dz =

0.32

6328 10

= 35.1 m.

3

7

±

×

×

±

p

m

( . ) 4 70 10

2 4

4

The first step in performing a depth-of-focus calculation is to set

the allowable degree of spot size variation. If we choose a typical

value of 5%, or w(z) = 1.05w

0

, and solve for z = Dz, the result is

By applying this result to the combination of the 05 LHR151

laser and laser-line focusing singlet 01 LFS 033, we find

Since the depth of focus is proportional to the square of focal

spot size, and focal spot size is directly related to f-number, the

depth of focus is proportional to the square of the f-number of the

focusing system.

(2.20)

(2.18)

(2.19)

(2.21)

(2.22)

and

and

w

Dbeam

1

e

2

2w0

Figure 2.7 Concentration of a laser beam by a laser-line

focusing singlet

Chpt. 2 Final 10/11/99 9:08 AM Page 2.7

The k function, plotted in figure 2.10, permits calculation of

on-axis spot diameter for any beam truncation ratio.

The optimal choice for truncation ratio depends on the relative

importance of spot size, peak spot intensity, and total power in the

spot as demonstrated in the table below. The total power loss in

the spot can be calculated by using

for a truncated Gaussian beam. A good compromise between power

loss and spot size is often a truncation ratio of one. When T = 2

(approximately uniform illumination), fractional power loss is 60%.

When T = 1, d

1/e

2 is just 8.0% larger than when T = 2, while fractional

power loss is down to 13.5%. Because of this large savings in power

with relatively little growth in the spot diameter, truncation ratios

of 0.7 to 1.0 are typically used. Ratios as low as 0.5 might be

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P = e

L

2(D /D

t b

4 )

2

(2.27)

d = 50% intensity point

and

d = 13.5% intensity point.

It is helpful to introduce the truncation ratio

T

=

D

D

FWHM

1/e

b

t

2

(2.24)

.1

.2

.3

.4

.5

.6

.7

.8

.9

1.0

I

N

T

E

N

S

I

T

Y

2.44 l (f-number)

13.5%

intensity

50%

intensity

Figure 2.8 Airy disc intensity distribution at the image

plane

Figure 2.9 Gaussian intensity distribution at the image

plane

.1

.2

.3

.4

.5

.6

.7

.8

.9

1.0

I

N

T

E

N

S

I

T

Y

1.83 l (f-number)

13.5%

intensity

50%

intensity

profile results as shown in figure 2.9. When the pupil illumination

is between these two extremes, a hybrid intensity profile results.

In the case of the Airy disc, the intensity falls to zero at the

point d

zero

= 2.44 !l !f/#, defining the diameter of the spot (see

figure 2.8). When the pupil illumination is not uniform, the image

spot intensity never falls to zero making it necessary to define the

diameter at some other point. This is commonly done for two

points:

K = +

0.7125

(T 0.2161)

0.6445

(T 0.2161)

FWHM

2.179 2.221

1 029 .

4

4

4

K

=

1.6449

+

0.6460

(T 0.2816) (T 0.2816)

1/e

1.821 1.891

2

4

4

4

0 5320 .

.

where D

b

is the Gaussian beam diameter measured at the 1/e

2

intensity point, and D

t

is the limiting aperture diameter of the lens.

If T = 2, which approximates uniform illumination, the image spot

intensity profile approaches that of the classic Airy disc. When

T = 1, the Gaussian profile is truncated at the 1/e

2

diameter, and the

spot profile is clearly a hybrid between an Airy pattern and a

Gaussian distribution. When T = 0.5, which approximates the case

for an untruncated Gaussian input beam, the spot intensity profile

approaches a Gaussian distribution.

Calculation of spot diameter for these or other truncation ratios

requires that K be evaluated. This is done by using the formulas

(2.25)

(2.26)

TRUNCATION

In a diffraction-limited lens, the diameter of the image spot is

where K is a constant dependent on truncation ratio and pupil

illumination, lis the wavelength of light, and f/# is the speed of the

lens at truncation. The intensity profile of the spot is strongly depen-

dent on the intensity profile of the radiation filling the entrance

pupil of the lens. For uniform pupil illumination, the image spot takes

on an Airy disc intensity profile as shown in figure 2.8. If the pupil

illumination is Gaussian in profile, an image spot of Gaussian

(2.23)

d = K f/# × × l

and

Chpt. 2 Final 7/30/99 4:59 PM Page 2.8

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Figure 2.11 Spatial filtering smoothes the irradiance

distribution

Modular and Multiaxis Spatial Filters

The Melles Griot range of spatial filters includes

a three-axis unit with precision micrometers

(07 SFM 001) and a compact five-axis version

(07 SFM 003). These devices feature an open design

that provides access to the beam as it passes

through the instrument. Details of these products

and standard microscope objectives and mounted

pinholes that work with these spatial filters are

described in Chapter 29, Microscope Components,

Spatial Filters, and Apertures.

For those who wish to fabricate their own spatial

filters, unmounted pinholes can also be found in

Chapter 29, Microscope Components, Spatial Filters,

and Apertures. The precision individual pinholes are

for general-purpose spatial-filtering tasks. The high-

energy laser precision pinholes are constructed

specifically to withstand irradiation from high-energy

lasers.

APPLICATION NOTE

employed when laser power must be conserved. However, this low

value often wastes too much of the available clear aperture of the

lens.

Spot Diameters and Fractional Power Loss

for Three Values of Truncation

Truncation Ratio d

FWHM

d

1/e

2 d

zero

P

L

(%)

Infinity

2.0

1.0

0.5

1.03

1.05

1.13

1.54

1.64

1.69

1.83

2.51

2.44

—

—

—

100

60

13.5

0.03

The mathematics of the effects of truncation on a real-world

laser beam are beyond the scope of this chapter. Suffice it to say that

truncation, in general, increases the M

2

factor of the beam. For an

in-depth treatment of this problem, please refer to the

aforementioned paper by Haiyin Sun as well as “Changes in

Characteristics of a Gaussian Beam Weakly Diffracted by a Circular

Aperture” by P. Belland and J. Crenn, App. Opt. 21 (1982).

0.5

1.5

1.0

2.0

2.5

3.0

K

F

A

C

T

O

R

0

T(Db/Dt)

1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0

spot diameter = K ! l ! f-number

spot measured at 50% intensity level

spot measured at 13.5% intensity level

Figure 2.10 K factors as a function of truncation ratio

SPATIAL FILTERING

Laser light scattered from dust particles residing on optical

surfaces may produce interference patterns resembling holographic

zone planes. Such patterns can cause difficulties in interferometric

and holographic applications where they form a highly detailed,

contrasting, and confusing background that interferes with desired

information. Spatial filtering is a simple way of suppressing this

interference and maintaining a very smooth beam irradiance distri-

bution. The scattered light propagates in different directions from

the laser light and hence is spatially separated at a lens focal plane.

By centering a small aperture around the focal spot of the direct

beam, it is possible to block scattered light while allowing the direct

beam to pass unscathed. The result is a cone of light that has a very

smooth irradiance distribution and can be refocused to form a

collimated beam that is almost equally smooth (see figure 2.11).

As a compromise between ease of alignment and complete

spatial filtering, it is best that the aperture diameter be about two

times the 1/e

2

beam contour at the focus, or about 1.33 times the

99% throughput contour diameter.

Chpt. 2 Final 7/30/99 4:59 PM Page 2.9

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This formula is for uniform illumination, not a Gaussian intensity

profile. However, since it yields a larger value for spot size than actu-

ally occurs, its use will provide us with conservative lens choices.

Keep in mind that this formula is for spot diameter whereas the

Gaussian beam formulas are all stated in terms of spot radius.

Example 1: Obtain 8-mm spot at 80 m

Using the Melles Griot HeNe laser 05 LHR 151, produce a spot

8 mm in diameter at a distance of 80 m (see figure 2.12).

The product tables in Chapter 44, Helium Neon Lasers, gives the

output beam radius for the 25 LHR 151 as 0.4 mm (the product

The most important relationships that we will use in the process

of lens selection for Gaussian beam optical systems are as follows:

Focused spot radius

Beam propagation

w=

f

w

0

l

p

.

w(z) = w

z

w

w (optimum) =

z

z =

w

0

0

2

0

R

0

2

1

2

1 2

1 2

+

j

(

,

\

,

(

,

¸

,

,

]

]

]

]

j

(

,

\

,

(

l

p

l

p

p

l

/

/

.

spot diameter (3rd- order spherical aberration) =

0.067 f

(f/#)

3

.

w (80 m) = 0.4 1

0.6328 10

= 40.3- mm beam radius

3

+

× ×

( )( )

j

(

,

,

\

,

(

(

,

¸

,

,

,

]

]

]

]

]

5

80 000

0 4

2

2

1 2

,

.

/

p

w (optimum) =

0.6328 10 80,000

= 4.0 mm.

0

3

1/2

× ×

j

(

,

\

,

(

4

p

overall length = f + f

1 2

magnification =

f

f

2

1

0.8 mm

45 mm 80 m

8 mm

01 LDK 001

01 LAO 059

Figure 2.12 Lens spacing adjusted empirically to achieve the desired spot size at 80 m

We can also utilize the equation for the approximate on-axis

spot size caused by spherical aberration for a plano-convex lens at

the infinite conjugate:

tables list beam diameter, so remember to divide by 2). Assuming a

collimated beam, we use the propagation formula to determine the

spot size at 80 m:

or 80.6-mm beam diameter. This is just about exactly a factor of 10

larger than we wanted. We can use the formula for w

0

(optimum)

to determine the smallest collimated beam diameter we could

achieve at a distance of 80 m:

This tells us that if we expand the beam by a factor of 10

(4.0 mm/0.4 mm), we can produce a collimated beam 8 mm in

diameter, which, if focused at the midpoint (40 m), will again be

8 mm in diameter at a distance of 80 m. This 10#expansion could

be accomplished most easily with one of the Melles Griot beam

expanders, such as the 09 LBX 003 or 09 LBM 013. However, if there

is a space constraint and a need to perform this task with a system

that is no longer than 50 mm, this can be accomplished by using

catalog components.

Figure 2.13 illustrates the two main types of beam expanders. The

Keplerian type consists of two positive lenses which are positioned

with their focal points nominally coincident. The Galilean type con-

sists of a negative diverging lens, followed by a positive collimating

lens, again positioned with their focal points nominally coincident.

In both cases, the overall length of the optical system is given by

Lens Selection

and the magnification is given by

and

where a negative sign, in the Galilean system, indicates an inverted

image (which is unimportant for laser beams). The Keplerian system,

(from 2.4)

(from 2.2)

(from 2.7)

Chpt. 2 Final 9/2/99 4:04 PM Page 2.10

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Thus, even a diffraction-limited focusing lens, with a 100-mm

focal length, will produce a 100-µm-diameter focal spot with an

Ideally, a plano-concave diverging lens is used for minimum

spherical aberration, but the shortest catalog focal length available is

410 mm. There is, however, a biconcave lens with a focal length of

45 mm (01 LDK 001). Even though this is not the optimum shape

lens for this application, the extremely short focal length is likely to have

negligible aberrations at this f-number. Ray tracing would confirm

this.

Now that we have selected a diverging lens with a focal length

of 45 mm, we need to choose a collimating lens with a focal length

of 50 mm. To determine whether a plano-convex lens is acceptable,

check the spherical aberration formula:

with its internal point of focus, allows one to utilize a spatial filter,

while the Galilean system has the advantage of shorter length for

a given magnification.

In order to determine necessary focal lengths for an expander,

we need to solve these two equations for the two unknowns.

In this case,

Using a negative value for the magnification will provide us

with a Galilean expander. This yields values of f

2

= 55.5 mm and

f

1

= 45.5 mm.

Figure 2.13 Two main types of beam expanders

Keplerian beam expander

f1 f2

Galilean beam expander

f1

f2

f + f = 50

and

f

f

= 10.

1 2

2

1

4

spot size resulting from spherical aberration

=

0.067 50

6.25

=14 m.

The spot diameter resulting from diffraction is

2w =

2 (0.6328 10 ) 50

4.0

= 5 m.

3

0

3

×

×

m

p

m

4

w =

0.6328 10 100

0.4

= 50 m.

3

× ×

4

p

m

45 mm 95 mm

01 LDK 001

01 LAO 059 01 LLP 017

Figure 2.14 Laser focusing system with long working distance

Clearly, a plano-convex lens will not be adequate. The next choice

would be an achromat, such as the 01 LAO 059. The data in the spot

size charts on page 1.26 indicates that this lens is probably diffraction

limited at this f-number. Our final system would therefore consist of

the 01 LDK 001 spaced about 45 mm from the 01 LAO 059, which

would have its flint element facing toward the laser.

Example 2: Obtain 10 mm spot at > 100 mm

Focus the output of an 05 LHR 151 to a spot diameter of 10 mm,

but with the constraint that the last surface of the focusing optics

is no closer than 100 mm to the focal point (see figure 2.14).

Using a 100-mm-focal-length lens, the Gaussian beam focusing

equation yields a spot radius of

Chpt. 2 Final 9/2/99 4:04 PM Page 2.11

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0.8-mm-diameter input beam. In order to achieve the spot size

wanted, the beam must first be expanded by a factor of 10 before

it is focused. The 10#expander described in the previous example

could perform the task, as could any of the standard 10#expanders

offered by Melles Griot.

For focusing, we now have an 8-mm-diameter beam going into

the 100-mm-focal-length lens, so we are operating at f/12.5. At this

f-number we can probably use a plano-convex lens, but it is a good

idea to check the spherical aberration to make sure.

spot size (spherical aberration) =

0.067 100

12.5

= 3 m.

3

×

m

1.1 mm

455 mm

06 GLC 002

06 GPA 004

06 LXP 009 01 LAO 277

Figure 2.15 Melles Griot diode laser components, showing how they may be used in relation to each other

The plano-convex lens, oriented with its convex surface toward

the beam expander, will provide diffraction-limited performance in

this case.

Although the effects of manufacturing tolerances should always

be taken into account when choosing a standard catalog lens, they

are not significant for the input lens of this beam expander because

the aperture is so small. With a diameter of 1 mm or less, virtually

any of the lenses in this catalog introduce only a fraction of a wave

of wavefront distortion as a result of manufacturing errors. How-

ever, with a larger beam, lens quality is a consideration. One of the

precision-grade lenses, in this case the 01 LLP017, should be used

for this precision application.

Example 3: Collimate a diode laser

Collect and collimate the output of a diode laser to a 25-mm-

diameter diffraction-limited beam. The output wavelength is 780nm

and has a full-angle divergence of 60°!20° (see figure 2.15).

The first step is to determine the numerical aperture needed to

collect all the light from a source with a 60-degree divergence angle.

Since numerical aperture is defined to be the sine of the half angle

of divergence,

NA = sin 30º = 0.5.

Stated in terms of f-number, 1/(2 NA), this is f/1. At this low

f-number we can immediately rule out virtually any simple lens or

achromat; even if a simple lens were available at this low

f-number, it would not provide the performance level required. The

best choice would be a highly corrected, multielement diode laser

collimating lens, such as the 06 GLC 002, which has a numerical

aperture of 0.5.

The 06 GLC 002 yields a collimated elliptical beam with dimen-

sions of 8 mm !2.7 mm. The smaller dimension of this beam must

be expanded to match the larger dimension; otherwise, it will have

a larger beam divergence because of diffraction. Since there is

approximately a 3:1 ratio in the two dimensions, we will use a 3#

anamorphic prism pair, 06 GPA 004, to accomplish the expansion.

This will now yield a collimated beam 8 mm in diameter.

The next step is to expand the beam by a factor of 3.125#in order

to get to the desired 25-mm beam diameter. Since no constraint has

been given on the length of our optical system, we’ll play it safe and

operate our beam expander at a minimum of f/10. This virtually

ensures diffraction-limited performance, even with singlets.

At f/10 and an 8-mm-diameter input beam, we would need a

focal length of 80 mm for the input lens of our collimator. Since we

are looking for diffraction-limited performance, our best choice

would be one of the precision diode laser singlets (06 LXP series).

Once again, we choose a high-precision lens because our beam has

a fairly large diameter and the effects of manufacturing tolerances

must be considered.

The closest focal length we have in this series of lenses is the

06 LXP 009 with a focal length of 110 mm. Operating at f/13.75,

we will have diffraction-limited performance, which can be veri-

fied by using the formula for spherical aberration. We now need a

collimating lens with a focal length of 3.125 !110 mm = 344 mm.

The best choice is probably the 01 LAO 277 because there is no

precision singlet lens with the necessary focal length. The achromat

is also manufactured to tighter tolerances.

The final system would then consist of the 06 GLC 002 mated

directly to the 06 GPA 004, followed by the 06 LXP 009 with its

curved surface facing toward the diode laser. The spacing between

the 06 LXP 009 and 06 GPA 004 is not critical. Finally, the

01 LAO277 would follow, spaced approximately 455 mm from the

singlet, with its flint surface facing toward the diode laser.

Since the standard coating supplied with the 01 LAO series

achromats does not perform very well at 780 nm, this lens should

be specified with a /076 coating, which is optimized for performance

at 780 nm.

Chpt. 2 Final 7/30/99 4:59 PM Page 2.12

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2.6 1 Visit Us OnLine! www.mellesgriot.com

Transformation and Magnification by Simple Lenses

It is already clear from the previous discussion that Gaussian

beams transform in an unorthodox manner. Siegman uses matrix

transformations to treat the general problem of Gaussian beam

propagation with lenses and mirrors. A less rigorous, but in many

ways more insightful, approach to this problem has been developed

by Self [S.A. Self, “Focusing of Spherical Gaussian Beams,” Appl.

Opt. 22, no. 5 (March 1983): 658]. Self shows a method to model

transformations of a laser beam through simple optics, under

paraxial conditions, by calculating the Rayleigh range and beam

waist location following each individual optical element. These

parameters are calculated using a formula analogous to the

well-known standard lens formula. Melles Griot engineers have

found this method to be particularly useful. The main points are as

follows.

The standard lens equation can be written in dimensionless

form:

1

s + z s f)

+

1

s

=

1

f

or, in dimensionless form,

1

(s/f) + (z /f) /(s/f 1)

+

1

(s /f)

= 1.

R

2

R

2

/( 4

4

″

″

1

s/f

+

1

s /f

= 1.

″

For Gaussian beams, Self has derived an analogous formula by

assuming that the waist of the input beam represents the object,

and the waist of the output beam represents the image. The for-

mula is expressed in terms of the Rayleigh range of the input beam.

In the regular form,

In the far-field limit as z

R

→ 0, this reduces to the geometric

optics equation. A plot of (s/f) versus (s″/f) for various values of

(z

R

/f) is shown in figure 2.6. There are three distinct regions of

interest. For a positive thin lens, these correspond to real object

and real image, real object and virtual image, and virtual object

and real image.

The main differences between Gaussian beam optics and

geometric optics, highlighted in such a plot, can be summarized as

follows:

$ There is a maximum and minimum image distance for

Gaussian beams.

$ The maximum image distance occurs at s = f + z

R

, rather than

at s = f.

$ There is a common point in the Gaussian beam expression

at s/f = s″/f =1. For a simple positive lens, this is the point at

which the incident beam has a waist at the front focus and the

emerging beam has a waist at the rear focus.

(2.12)

(2.13)

(2.14)

Figure 2.6 Plot of the lens formula for Gaussian beams,

with normalized Rayleigh range of the input beam as

the parameter

0

1

2

4

5

41 0 1 2 3 4 5

3

0

0.25

1

2

parameter

z

R

f

( )

I

M

A

G

E

D

I

S

T

A

N

C

E

(

s

"

/

f

)

OBJECT DISTANCE (s/f)

0.50

42 43 44 45

41

42

43

44

$ A lens appears to have a shorter focal length as z

R

/f increases

from zero (i.e., there is a Gaussian focal shift).

Self recommends calculating z

R

, w

0

, and the position of w

0

for

each optical element in the system in turn so that the overall trans-

formation of the beam can be calculated. To carry this out, it is

also necessary to consider magnification: w

0

″/w

0

. The magnification

is given by

m =

w

w

=

1

1 (s/f) +(z /f)

0

0

R

″

4

[ ]

¦

¦

¦

¦

¦

¦

2

2

.

z = m z

R

2

R

″ .

The Rayleigh range of the output beam depends on m

2

, as can

be seen from the previous example, and is given by

All the above formulas are written in terms of the Rayleigh range

of the input beam. Unlike the geometric case, the formulas are not

symmetric with respect to input and output beam parameters. For

back tracing beams, it is useful to know the Gaussian beam formula

in terms of the Rayleigh range of the output beam:

1

s

+

1

s + z /(s f )

=

1

f

.

R

″ ″ ″

2

4

(2.15)

(2.16)

(2.17)

Chpt. 2 Final 7/30/99 4:59 PM Page 2.6

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M

2

AND THE LENS EQUATION

For real-world beams, the lens equation can be modified to

incorporate M

2

. Equation 2.12 becomes

1/[s+(z

R

/M

2

)

2

/(s-f)]+1/2″ = 1/f,

and equation 2.14 transforms to

1/[(s/f)+(z

R

/M

2

f)

2

/(s/f-1)]+1/(s″/f) = 1.

BEAM CONCENTRATION

The spot size and focal position of a Gaussian beam can be

determined from the previous equations. Two cases of particular

interest occur when s = 0 (the input waist is at the first principal

surface of the lens system) and s = f (the input waist is at the front

focal point of the optical system). For s = 0, we get

If a particularly small spot is desired, there is an advantage to

using a well-corrected high-numerical-aperture microscope objective

(see Chapter 29, Microscope Components, Spatial Filters and

Apertures) to concentrate the laser beam. The principal advantage

of the microscope objective over a simple lens is the diminished

level of spherical aberration. Although microscope objectives are

often used for this purpose, they are never designed for use at the

infinite conjugate ratio. Suitably optimized lens systems, which

Melles Griot can design and build on special request, are more

effective in beam-concentration tasks.

DEPTH OF FOCUS

Depth of focus (±Dz), that is, the range in image space over

which the focused spot diameter remains below an arbitrary limit,

can be derived from the formula

For the case of s = f, the equations for image distance and waist

size reduce to the following:

Substituting typical values into these equations yields nearly

identical results, and for most applications, the simpler, second set

of equations can be used.

In many applications, a primary aim is to focus the laser to a very

small spot, as shown in figure 2.7, by using either a single lens or a

combination of several lenses. Melles Griot has designed a series of

single lenses optimized for this specific purpose. For example, by

using a 05 LHR 151 laser and a focusing singlet, 01 LFS 033, the

formula should be modified as follows:

The factor 4/3 arises because of the careful balance of spherical

aberration and diffraction designed into the singlet. The ratio f/w

is proportional to lens f-number, but is not equal to it.

s =

f

1 + ( f/ w

w

=

f/ w

1

+

( f/ w

.

0

2

0

0

2

″

l p

l p

l p

)

)

/

2

2

1 2

[ ]

s = f

w

=

f/ w

0

″

l p

.

w(z)

4 f

3 w

=

4(632.8 10

)

= 4.70 10 mm

= 4.7 m.

6

3

≅

×

×

l

p p

m

4

4

)( )

( )( .

7

3 0 4

w(z) = w 1 +

z

w

0

0

2

l

p

j

(

,

\

,

(

,

¸

,

,

]

]

]

]

2

1 2 /

.

Dz

0.32 w

0

2

≈ ±

p

l

.

Dz =

0.32

6328 10

= 35.1 m.

3

7

±

×

×

±

p

m

( . ) 4 70 10

2 4

4

The first step in performing a depth-of-focus calculation is to set

the allowable degree of spot size variation. If we choose a typical

value of 5%, or w(z) = 1.05w

0

, and solve for z = Dz, the result is

By applying this result to the combination of the 05 LHR151

laser and laser-line focusing singlet 01 LFS 033, we find

Since the depth of focus is proportional to the square of focal

spot size, and focal spot size is directly related to f-number, the

depth of focus is proportional to the square of the f-number of the

focusing system.

(2.20)

(2.18)

(2.19)

(2.21)

(2.22)

and

and

w

Dbeam

1

e

2

2w0

Figure 2.7 Concentration of a laser beam by a laser-line

focusing singlet

Chpt. 2 Final 10/11/99 9:08 AM Page 2.7

The k function, plotted in figure 2.10, permits calculation of

on-axis spot diameter for any beam truncation ratio.

The optimal choice for truncation ratio depends on the relative

importance of spot size, peak spot intensity, and total power in the

spot as demonstrated in the table below. The total power loss in

the spot can be calculated by using

for a truncated Gaussian beam. A good compromise between power

loss and spot size is often a truncation ratio of one. When T = 2

(approximately uniform illumination), fractional power loss is 60%.

When T = 1, d

1/e

2 is just 8.0% larger than when T = 2, while fractional

power loss is down to 13.5%. Because of this large savings in power

with relatively little growth in the spot diameter, truncation ratios

of 0.7 to 1.0 are typically used. Ratios as low as 0.5 might be

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s

P = e

L

2(D /D

t b

4 )

2

(2.27)

d = 50% intensity point

and

d = 13.5% intensity point.

It is helpful to introduce the truncation ratio

T

=

D

D

FWHM

1/e

b

t

2

(2.24)

.1

.2

.3

.4

.5

.6

.7

.8

.9

1.0

I

N

T

E

N

S

I

T

Y

2.44 l (f-number)

13.5%

intensity

50%

intensity

Figure 2.8 Airy disc intensity distribution at the image

plane

Figure 2.9 Gaussian intensity distribution at the image

plane

.1

.2

.3

.4

.5

.6

.7

.8

.9

1.0

I

N

T

E

N

S

I

T

Y

1.83 l (f-number)

13.5%

intensity

50%

intensity

profile results as shown in figure 2.9. When the pupil illumination

is between these two extremes, a hybrid intensity profile results.

In the case of the Airy disc, the intensity falls to zero at the

point d

zero

= 2.44 !l !f/#, defining the diameter of the spot (see

figure 2.8). When the pupil illumination is not uniform, the image

spot intensity never falls to zero making it necessary to define the

diameter at some other point. This is commonly done for two

points:

K = +

0.7125

(T 0.2161)

0.6445

(T 0.2161)

FWHM

2.179 2.221

1 029 .

4

4

4

K

=

1.6449

+

0.6460

(T 0.2816) (T 0.2816)

1/e

1.821 1.891

2

4

4

4

0 5320 .

.

where D

b

is the Gaussian beam diameter measured at the 1/e

2

intensity point, and D

t

is the limiting aperture diameter of the lens.

If T = 2, which approximates uniform illumination, the image spot

intensity profile approaches that of the classic Airy disc. When

T = 1, the Gaussian profile is truncated at the 1/e

2

diameter, and the

spot profile is clearly a hybrid between an Airy pattern and a

Gaussian distribution. When T = 0.5, which approximates the case

for an untruncated Gaussian input beam, the spot intensity profile

approaches a Gaussian distribution.

Calculation of spot diameter for these or other truncation ratios

requires that K be evaluated. This is done by using the formulas

(2.25)

(2.26)

TRUNCATION

In a diffraction-limited lens, the diameter of the image spot is

where K is a constant dependent on truncation ratio and pupil

illumination, lis the wavelength of light, and f/# is the speed of the

lens at truncation. The intensity profile of the spot is strongly depen-

dent on the intensity profile of the radiation filling the entrance

pupil of the lens. For uniform pupil illumination, the image spot takes

on an Airy disc intensity profile as shown in figure 2.8. If the pupil

illumination is Gaussian in profile, an image spot of Gaussian

(2.23)

d = K f/# × × l

and

Chpt. 2 Final 7/30/99 4:59 PM Page 2.8

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Figure 2.11 Spatial filtering smoothes the irradiance

distribution

Modular and Multiaxis Spatial Filters

The Melles Griot range of spatial filters includes

a three-axis unit with precision micrometers

(07 SFM 001) and a compact five-axis version

(07 SFM 003). These devices feature an open design

that provides access to the beam as it passes

through the instrument. Details of these products

and standard microscope objectives and mounted

pinholes that work with these spatial filters are

described in Chapter 29, Microscope Components,

Spatial Filters, and Apertures.

For those who wish to fabricate their own spatial

filters, unmounted pinholes can also be found in

Chapter 29, Microscope Components, Spatial Filters,

and Apertures. The precision individual pinholes are

for general-purpose spatial-filtering tasks. The high-

energy laser precision pinholes are constructed

specifically to withstand irradiation from high-energy

lasers.

APPLICATION NOTE

employed when laser power must be conserved. However, this low

value often wastes too much of the available clear aperture of the

lens.

Spot Diameters and Fractional Power Loss

for Three Values of Truncation

Truncation Ratio d

FWHM

d

1/e

2 d

zero

P

L

(%)

Infinity

2.0

1.0

0.5

1.03

1.05

1.13

1.54

1.64

1.69

1.83

2.51

2.44

—

—

—

100

60

13.5

0.03

The mathematics of the effects of truncation on a real-world

laser beam are beyond the scope of this chapter. Suffice it to say that

truncation, in general, increases the M

2

factor of the beam. For an

in-depth treatment of this problem, please refer to the

aforementioned paper by Haiyin Sun as well as “Changes in

Characteristics of a Gaussian Beam Weakly Diffracted by a Circular

Aperture” by P. Belland and J. Crenn, App. Opt. 21 (1982).

0.5

1.5

1.0

2.0

2.5

3.0

K

F

A

C

T

O

R

0

T(Db/Dt)

1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0

spot diameter = K ! l ! f-number

spot measured at 50% intensity level

spot measured at 13.5% intensity level

Figure 2.10 K factors as a function of truncation ratio

SPATIAL FILTERING

Laser light scattered from dust particles residing on optical

surfaces may produce interference patterns resembling holographic

zone planes. Such patterns can cause difficulties in interferometric

and holographic applications where they form a highly detailed,

contrasting, and confusing background that interferes with desired

information. Spatial filtering is a simple way of suppressing this

interference and maintaining a very smooth beam irradiance distri-

bution. The scattered light propagates in different directions from

the laser light and hence is spatially separated at a lens focal plane.

By centering a small aperture around the focal spot of the direct

beam, it is possible to block scattered light while allowing the direct

beam to pass unscathed. The result is a cone of light that has a very

smooth irradiance distribution and can be refocused to form a

collimated beam that is almost equally smooth (see figure 2.11).

As a compromise between ease of alignment and complete

spatial filtering, it is best that the aperture diameter be about two

times the 1/e

2

beam contour at the focus, or about 1.33 times the

99% throughput contour diameter.

Chpt. 2 Final 7/30/99 4:59 PM Page 2.9

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This formula is for uniform illumination, not a Gaussian intensity

profile. However, since it yields a larger value for spot size than actu-

ally occurs, its use will provide us with conservative lens choices.

Keep in mind that this formula is for spot diameter whereas the

Gaussian beam formulas are all stated in terms of spot radius.

Example 1: Obtain 8-mm spot at 80 m

Using the Melles Griot HeNe laser 05 LHR 151, produce a spot

8 mm in diameter at a distance of 80 m (see figure 2.12).

The product tables in Chapter 44, Helium Neon Lasers, gives the

output beam radius for the 25 LHR 151 as 0.4 mm (the product

The most important relationships that we will use in the process

of lens selection for Gaussian beam optical systems are as follows:

Focused spot radius

Beam propagation

w=

f

w

0

l

p

.

w(z) = w

z

w

w (optimum) =

z

z =

w

0

0

2

0

R

0

2

1

2

1 2

1 2

+

j

(

,

\

,

(

,

¸

,

,

]

]

]

]

j

(

,

\

,

(

l

p

l

p

p

l

/

/

.

spot diameter (3rd- order spherical aberration) =

0.067 f

(f/#)

3

.

w (80 m) = 0.4 1

0.6328 10

= 40.3- mm beam radius

3

+

× ×

( )( )

j

(

,

,

\

,

(

(

,

¸

,

,

,

]

]

]

]

]

5

80 000

0 4

2

2

1 2

,

.

/

p

w (optimum) =

0.6328 10 80,000

= 4.0 mm.

0

3

1/2

× ×

j

(

,

\

,

(

4

p

overall length = f + f

1 2

magnification =

f

f

2

1

0.8 mm

45 mm 80 m

8 mm

01 LDK 001

01 LAO 059

Figure 2.12 Lens spacing adjusted empirically to achieve the desired spot size at 80 m

We can also utilize the equation for the approximate on-axis

spot size caused by spherical aberration for a plano-convex lens at

the infinite conjugate:

tables list beam diameter, so remember to divide by 2). Assuming a

collimated beam, we use the propagation formula to determine the

spot size at 80 m:

or 80.6-mm beam diameter. This is just about exactly a factor of 10

larger than we wanted. We can use the formula for w

0

(optimum)

to determine the smallest collimated beam diameter we could

achieve at a distance of 80 m:

This tells us that if we expand the beam by a factor of 10

(4.0 mm/0.4 mm), we can produce a collimated beam 8 mm in

diameter, which, if focused at the midpoint (40 m), will again be

8 mm in diameter at a distance of 80 m. This 10#expansion could

be accomplished most easily with one of the Melles Griot beam

expanders, such as the 09 LBX 003 or 09 LBM 013. However, if there

is a space constraint and a need to perform this task with a system

that is no longer than 50 mm, this can be accomplished by using

catalog components.

Figure 2.13 illustrates the two main types of beam expanders. The

Keplerian type consists of two positive lenses which are positioned

with their focal points nominally coincident. The Galilean type con-

sists of a negative diverging lens, followed by a positive collimating

lens, again positioned with their focal points nominally coincident.

In both cases, the overall length of the optical system is given by

Lens Selection

and the magnification is given by

and

where a negative sign, in the Galilean system, indicates an inverted

image (which is unimportant for laser beams). The Keplerian system,

(from 2.4)

(from 2.2)

(from 2.7)

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Thus, even a diffraction-limited focusing lens, with a 100-mm

focal length, will produce a 100-µm-diameter focal spot with an

Ideally, a plano-concave diverging lens is used for minimum

spherical aberration, but the shortest catalog focal length available is

410 mm. There is, however, a biconcave lens with a focal length of

45 mm (01 LDK 001). Even though this is not the optimum shape

lens for this application, the extremely short focal length is likely to have

negligible aberrations at this f-number. Ray tracing would confirm

this.

Now that we have selected a diverging lens with a focal length

of 45 mm, we need to choose a collimating lens with a focal length

of 50 mm. To determine whether a plano-convex lens is acceptable,

check the spherical aberration formula:

with its internal point of focus, allows one to utilize a spatial filter,

while the Galilean system has the advantage of shorter length for

a given magnification.

In order to determine necessary focal lengths for an expander,

we need to solve these two equations for the two unknowns.

In this case,

Using a negative value for the magnification will provide us

with a Galilean expander. This yields values of f

2

= 55.5 mm and

f

1

= 45.5 mm.

Figure 2.13 Two main types of beam expanders

Keplerian beam expander

f1 f2

Galilean beam expander

f1

f2

f + f = 50

and

f

f

= 10.

1 2

2

1

4

spot size resulting from spherical aberration

=

0.067 50

6.25

=14 m.

The spot diameter resulting from diffraction is

2w =

2 (0.6328 10 ) 50

4.0

= 5 m.

3

0

3

×

×

m

p

m

4

w =

0.6328 10 100

0.4

= 50 m.

3

× ×

4

p

m

45 mm 95 mm

01 LDK 001

01 LAO 059 01 LLP 017

Figure 2.14 Laser focusing system with long working distance

Clearly, a plano-convex lens will not be adequate. The next choice

would be an achromat, such as the 01 LAO 059. The data in the spot

size charts on page 1.26 indicates that this lens is probably diffraction

limited at this f-number. Our final system would therefore consist of

the 01 LDK 001 spaced about 45 mm from the 01 LAO 059, which

would have its flint element facing toward the laser.

Example 2: Obtain 10 mm spot at > 100 mm

Focus the output of an 05 LHR 151 to a spot diameter of 10 mm,

but with the constraint that the last surface of the focusing optics

is no closer than 100 mm to the focal point (see figure 2.14).

Using a 100-mm-focal-length lens, the Gaussian beam focusing

equation yields a spot radius of

Chpt. 2 Final 9/2/99 4:04 PM Page 2.11

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0.8-mm-diameter input beam. In order to achieve the spot size

wanted, the beam must first be expanded by a factor of 10 before

it is focused. The 10#expander described in the previous example

could perform the task, as could any of the standard 10#expanders

offered by Melles Griot.

For focusing, we now have an 8-mm-diameter beam going into

the 100-mm-focal-length lens, so we are operating at f/12.5. At this

f-number we can probably use a plano-convex lens, but it is a good

idea to check the spherical aberration to make sure.

spot size (spherical aberration) =

0.067 100

12.5

= 3 m.

3

×

m

1.1 mm

455 mm

06 GLC 002

06 GPA 004

06 LXP 009 01 LAO 277

Figure 2.15 Melles Griot diode laser components, showing how they may be used in relation to each other

The plano-convex lens, oriented with its convex surface toward

the beam expander, will provide diffraction-limited performance in

this case.

Although the effects of manufacturing tolerances should always

be taken into account when choosing a standard catalog lens, they

are not significant for the input lens of this beam expander because

the aperture is so small. With a diameter of 1 mm or less, virtually

any of the lenses in this catalog introduce only a fraction of a wave

of wavefront distortion as a result of manufacturing errors. How-

ever, with a larger beam, lens quality is a consideration. One of the

precision-grade lenses, in this case the 01 LLP017, should be used

for this precision application.

Example 3: Collimate a diode laser

Collect and collimate the output of a diode laser to a 25-mm-

diameter diffraction-limited beam. The output wavelength is 780nm

and has a full-angle divergence of 60°!20° (see figure 2.15).

The first step is to determine the numerical aperture needed to

collect all the light from a source with a 60-degree divergence angle.

Since numerical aperture is defined to be the sine of the half angle

of divergence,

NA = sin 30º = 0.5.

Stated in terms of f-number, 1/(2 NA), this is f/1. At this low

f-number we can immediately rule out virtually any simple lens or

achromat; even if a simple lens were available at this low

f-number, it would not provide the performance level required. The

best choice would be a highly corrected, multielement diode laser

collimating lens, such as the 06 GLC 002, which has a numerical

aperture of 0.5.

The 06 GLC 002 yields a collimated elliptical beam with dimen-

sions of 8 mm !2.7 mm. The smaller dimension of this beam must

be expanded to match the larger dimension; otherwise, it will have

a larger beam divergence because of diffraction. Since there is

approximately a 3:1 ratio in the two dimensions, we will use a 3#

anamorphic prism pair, 06 GPA 004, to accomplish the expansion.

This will now yield a collimated beam 8 mm in diameter.

The next step is to expand the beam by a factor of 3.125#in order

to get to the desired 25-mm beam diameter. Since no constraint has

been given on the length of our optical system, we’ll play it safe and

operate our beam expander at a minimum of f/10. This virtually

ensures diffraction-limited performance, even with singlets.

At f/10 and an 8-mm-diameter input beam, we would need a

focal length of 80 mm for the input lens of our collimator. Since we

are looking for diffraction-limited performance, our best choice

would be one of the precision diode laser singlets (06 LXP series).

Once again, we choose a high-precision lens because our beam has

a fairly large diameter and the effects of manufacturing tolerances

must be considered.

The closest focal length we have in this series of lenses is the

06 LXP 009 with a focal length of 110 mm. Operating at f/13.75,

we will have diffraction-limited performance, which can be veri-

fied by using the formula for spherical aberration. We now need a

collimating lens with a focal length of 3.125 !110 mm = 344 mm.

The best choice is probably the 01 LAO 277 because there is no

precision singlet lens with the necessary focal length. The achromat

is also manufactured to tighter tolerances.

The final system would then consist of the 06 GLC 002 mated

directly to the 06 GPA 004, followed by the 06 LXP 009 with its

curved surface facing toward the diode laser. The spacing between

the 06 LXP 009 and 06 GPA 004 is not critical. Finally, the

01 LAO277 would follow, spaced approximately 455 mm from the

singlet, with its flint surface facing toward the diode laser.

Since the standard coating supplied with the 01 LAO series

achromats does not perform very well at 780 nm, this lens should

be specified with a /076 coating, which is optimized for performance

at 780 nm.

Chpt. 2 Final 7/30/99 4:59 PM Page 2.12

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