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Shaper converts 'square' beam into round point

03 Jan 2007

Schott's Beam Shaper corrals light beams into circular shape to improve laser diode applications from surgery to DVD writing.

For many applications of lasers, ranging from surgery to DVD writing, the required or desirable beam shape must be as circular and as homogeneous as possible to allow the transfer of the maximum concentration of energy in a precise point.

Until now, this shape could only be achieved using complex and unwieldy optics consisting of lenses and mirrors. Now, Schott says it has developed a simple and efficient beam shaping solution. Called, the Beam Shaper, Schott's device converts the square-faced output from an individual laser diode or rows of strings of laser diodes into a beam of light that has a round profile and offers homogeneous light dissemination.

The Beam Shaper's function originates in its specially bundled glass fibers that redirect light in the desired direction. The device is available in two different versions. For individual laser diodes with outputs up to 1 W, the component is cylindrical in shape. For bars comprising dozens of laser diodes with a total output of tens of watts, the light former is also equipped with a paddle-shaped end that matches the geometry of the diode bar.

In both cases, the light output of 90% is deemed by Schott to be "quite high", but this is not the only advantage for users, as the company explains. "The Beam Shaper simplifies the calibration," said Burkhard Danielzik, General Manager for Business Development for Fiber Optics at Schott. "This results in tangible economic advantages. With this product, Schott is now working to develop completely new areas of application for optical glass fibers."

Other shapes

Schott believes that most laser users prefer a light beam with a round profile. However other beam geometries are also possible to generate oval cross sections of various sizes, for example.

And when it comes to different wavelengths, the Beam Shaper is not tied to a limited range. The rods of fiber optics can conduct wavelengths of between 400 and 1700 nm equally well. The Beam Shaper is also ruggedized and functions at temperatures up to 350°C and resists many types of chemicals.

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