Abstract

A telecentric confocal optical arrangement is presented that greatly reduces the diffraction aberrations of the acousto-optic tunable filter (AOTF). Analytical expressions for the aberrations were identified based on the fundamental properties of Bragg diffraction, and additional aberrations due to focusing through the AOTF were also included. The analysis was verified by use of a geometrical ray trace optical code, and an experimental AOTF system was analyzed. Considerable improvement in the potential spatial resolution is predicted with confocal optics, which could accommodate large pixel-limited image fields of greater than 106 pixels. When the image quality of the experimental system was assessed, the resolution was found to be improved by the confocal optics and was diffraction limited. Higher resolution could have been obtained with the use of larger optics to increase the throughput before being limited by the aberrations.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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