Benefits of and applications for diffractive beam splitters

Published by Oleg Rybakovsky.

Diffractive beam splitters

A diffractive beam splitter is a diffractive optical element (DOE) used to split a single collimated laser beam into several beams with optical characteristics like original beam. Usually beams are separated into 1D or 2D arrays and may be arranged regularly or irregularly. A diffractive beam splitter is used with monochromatic light such as a laser beam and is designed for a specific wavelength and angle of separation between output beams.

1x5 diffractive beam splitter

1x5 diffractive beam splitter

The working principles of diffractive beam splitter is similar to work of the diffraction grating but in case of (DOE) the grooves of diffraction grating have more complex shape (in case of 1D array) or DOE can have complex binary or analog format surface with 3D periodic structure. The diffractive beamsplitter allows to create any type of spot arrays  (1D, 2D or irregular) while maintaining high efficiency and uniform distribution of energy in the spots.    

Sample of 1D diffractive beam splitter profile

Sample of 1D diffractive beam splitter profile

Sample of 2D beamsplitter binary profile (3D model)

Sample of 2D beamsplitter binary profile (3D model)

The range of application of diffractive beam splitters is very wide. Some typical areas include:

  • Laser scribing and dicing

  • Laser displays

  • Filters for cigarettes

  • Medical/aesthetic applications

  • 3-D sensors

  • IR depth detectors

  • Fiber optics