Diffractive optical elements (DOEs) shape and divide the laser beams efficiently. They can be used in many applications with minimal light loss. They can be used to pattern the light in work areas for custom illumination. Typically, DOEs are micro relief structures on the face of an optical window, with the structures diffracting the light in a pre-designed pattern. Keep reading to learn more about the DOEs:
Advantages of Using DOEs
DOEs are used in a wide range of applications because of the benefits they offer including the following:
- Using highly precise diffraction structures with contemporary production methods can make all the difference in the outcome of a DOE application.
- Energy-efficiency. With DOEs, laser beams are shaped and split to control the intensity.
- Refractive optics are combined or replaced with diffractive optics.
DOEs are used in different applications to carry out complicated mathematical functions on the input’s phase to generate different shapes and structures of output beams, improving systems performance. They have made their way into industrial applications and are rapidly becoming the “go-to” solution in a lot of medical, research, and industrial applications.
These applications include the following:
- Laser material processing. In this application, the laser beams are shaped and split during the cutting, welding, scoring, and drilling.
- LIDA or LADAR applications. These applications involve the laser beams helping measure the optical distance and speed.
- Optical sensors. DOEs can be used as distance and position sensors and motion detectors.
- Biomedical devices. The diffractive optical elements in this application are used for medical laser treatment and diagnostic instruments.
- Lithography and holographic lighting. In this application, the beam homogenization is utilized in the structured pupil illumination, homogenous field illumination, and mask projection systems.
Kinds of DOEs
DOEs are categorized into the following:
- Beam splitters. When using these DOEs, it is important to generate multiple beams with similar characteristics to the input beam at predefined separations from one another. These DOEs are used in applications that demand parallel processing for an improved process throughout.
- Beam shapers. These Does are used for generating a flat top profile of the beam with an energy drop outside the flat area. Such an energy profile allows system manufacturers to exploit the energy at hand. Typically, the flat top diffractive beam shaper is used in high-power material processing applications that require a highly precise process and where the energy cost is a significant component and