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Opt Lett. 2004 Nov 15;29(22):2635-7.

Active correction of thermal lensing through external radiative thermal actuation.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 175 Albany Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Absorption of laser beam power in optical elements induces thermal gradients that may cause unwanted phase aberrations. In precision measurement applications, such as laser interferometric gravitational-wave detection, corrective measures that require mechanical contact with or attachments to the optics are precluded by noise considerations. We describe a radiative thermal corrector that can counteract thermal lensing and (or) thermoelastic deformation induced by coating and substrate absorption of collimated Gaussian beams. This radiative system can correct anticipated distortions to a high accuracy, at the cost of an increase in the average temperature of the optic. A quantitative analysis and parameter optimization is supported by results from a simplified proof-of-principle experiment, demonstrating the method's feasibility for our intended application.

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