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Control direction of laser beam

  1. Aug 24, 2006 #1
    Hey all,

    I am currently trying to figure out how I can control the direction of a laser beam. Galvos are widely used in order to electronically change the direction of the beam. Although, I was hoping to find a way to do this without mechanical parts.

    There are two ways I have looked at for alternative ways to change the direction of the beam without a galvo:

    1) Use some kind of electro-optic crystal material to dynamically change the refractive index of the material, which will bend the beam at different angles. For example, I hear this might be done by applying a voltage or electric field to a Lithium Niobate crystal.

    2) Use something like a acousto-optic modulator, to diffract the beam at different angles based upon some input frequency.


    So heres the question(s):

    -Has anyone ever done this kind of thing before?
    -Whats the best way to electronically bend a laser beam without mechanical parts?
    -Where do you get supplies to make this, like the LiNiO3 crystals?
    -Are there any electronic diagrams for connecting this up?

    I feel like there is alot of information about these effects, but not the right information to actually set it up.

    Anything is appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Chris M
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2006 #2

    dlgoff

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Either method will work. You might want to check out http://www.photonics.com/. I did a quick search on modulators and got this.

    Hope this helps you find the components you'll need.

    Regards
     
  4. Sep 8, 2006 #3
    Chris:

    Assuming that you wish to dynamically alter the beam path, use a galvo - it's probably the best thing to use, especially if you want to move the beam by a large angle. They also have a fast response. EOM and AOM devices will work, but they are (usually) more expensive (especially the drivers) and a bit more complex to integrate into your optics, although the modulation can be driven faster. Personally I'd always rather use galvos if I could help it, but that might be my foible. If you just want a static method of doing it, use ordinary mirrors.
     
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