Laser Beam Shaping

Optics and systems for the transformation of laser beam profiles

Many laser applications use collimated Gaussian beam profiles, which show weaknesses regarding the distribution of their intensity. With growing technical possibilities, however, the demands on the beam profile of a laser are also growing. This includes, for example, homogeneous intensity distribution over the entire beam diameter for optimum illumination, e.g. in biology or measurement technology. In the field of materials processing, on the other hand, special beam profiles in focus, so-called top hats, are required for optimum heat input into the material and improved process speeds. The uncomplicated transformation of a collimated Gaussian laser beam by beamformer into (focused) top-hat profiles contributes to improved efficiency in various processes and increases the effectiveness in the respective application.

Fields of application of Top-Hat beam shaping

The greatest advantage of top-hat distributions is the homogeneous intensity distribution within the entire beam diameter. Top hat beam forming systems are therefore used, for example, in laser-based wide-field or fluorescence microscopy. By uniformly expanding or shaping the laser beam without loss of intensity at the edges, a microscope sample can be homogeneously illuminated and atoms on it can be excited uniformly. With focused top-hat profiles, the uniform intensity is exploited in a smaller beam diameter. These focuses are used, for example, in laser material processing. The generated focused top hat profiles generate a high edge steepness of the laser beam, which enables uniform heat input into the material and ultimately optimizes the quality of cutting edges, for example. Another area of application is medical technology.

Afocal beam shaping systems

The a|TopShape beamformer from asphericon is a compact afocal beam shaping system that converts a collimated Gaussian beam into a collimated Top-Hat beam with homogeneous intensity distribution. To generate focused top hat profiles, we have developed another beam shaping system: the a|AiryShape. This generates a focused top-hat profile from a collimated Gaussian beam, based on diffraction theory and Fourier transformation.

High quality aspheres form the basis for the powerful beam shapers. They provide the best imaging properties and reduce the spherical aberration that occurs with spherical lenses to a minimum. The spectral range of our beam shapers extends from 300 nm to 1600 nm and enables many applications in the fields of laser material processing, metrology and microscopy. The size of the input and output beams is freely scalable. The effective use of the adapted intensity distribution of the laser beam is constantly being improved, so the trend is towards dynamic adaptation of the laser beam to the existing process, made possible by flexible beam shaping.

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