A beam splitter is a diffractive optical element that splits a single input beam into multiple output beams where each out beam holds the same characteristics as the input beam (except for the angle of propagation and power).
Beam splitters can be of different types. This article offers a comprehensive guide on different types of beam splitters and their characteristics.
The plate beam splitter is the most fundamental type of diffractive optical element where two different output beams are generated from an input beam.In any structural analysis, where one output beam is a transmitted beam and the other is a reflected beam, a beam deflection calculator becomes an indispensable tool to accurately predict their behavior.
The directions of these output beams depend on the angle of incidence of the input beam, typically orthogonal to each other. The two new beams possess the same divergence and beam size as the input beam.
Microlens array is another important type of beam splitter that operates on a unique concept where lenslets or a series of tiny lenses with the same radius of curvature and size get involved. This beam splitter splits an input beam into multiple smaller beams. The output beams converge at the focal plane of each lenslet.
In terms of efficacy and versatility, the diffractive beam splitter surpasses the above-mentioned two beam splitters. Whereas the earlier beam splitters follow the principle of refraction, this beam splitter works on the diffractive principle and exploits the input beam’s wave nature. This type of output transmission is known as the interference effect. A diffractive beam splitter can split the input light beam into multiple output beams in any geometrical pattern.
The inherent divergence, size, and other characteristics of the output beams remain the same as the input beam. More importantly, a diffractive beam splitter also helps to design the spatial separation and angular orientation among the output beams in any anticipated value.
Because of all the above-mentioned features, you will find plenty of applications for a diffractive beam splitter in various academic and industrial fields. For instance, one of the additional beams produced by the beam splitter can be configured with minimal power.
This beam serves the purpose of monitoring the laser power within the system, eliminating the need for direct power measurements on the processing beam. Another crucial example is a multi-spot diffractive beam splitter that has a significant application in aesthetic treatment to generate a meticulously packed array of output beams at the focal plane of a laser.
This irradiance pattern acts effectively on a greater area of the skin of the patient. More importantly, this beam splitter offers an effective healing process. This is a result of the gaps between the numerous spots that facilitate the migration of epidermal cells. Apart from aesthetic skin treatment, laser dicing, laser scribing, fiber optics, and 3D sensors are some crucial areas where you can find the applications of beam splitters.