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A beamsplitter is an optical device that receives a light beam and divides it into two components. The first component is propagated from the beamsplitter as a transmitted beam. The second component is propagated as a reflected optical beam. A conventional beamsplitter comprises a cube of optically transparent material encasing a thin layer of semi-reflecting material oriented diagonally across the interior.
Beamsplitters are used in optical devices such as scanners, interferometers, and back-scattering detectors for measuring back-scatter from particles. A problem with conventional cubic beamsplitters is distortion caused by light striking faces at oblique angles. Transmission through the beamsplitter is refracted at the surface according to Fresnel’s Equations. The refracted light beam is parallel to the incident beam and displaced from it. The magnitude of displacement depends on the angle of incidence and the index of refraction of optical materials in beamsplitter components.
To address these inadequacies, Army scientists and engineers have developed a spherical beamsplitter. Light coming into this beamsplitter is received at an angle normal to the exterior surface of the beamsplitter. Light propagated from the beamsplitter can be transmitted at an angle normal to the exterior surface. Therefore, at least some of the light received and transmitted is propagated without distortion.
- Light received and transmitted is propagated with less distortion
- US patent 7,848,024 available for license