Abstract

The acousto-optic tunable filter (AOTF) has optical sidelobes that are due to the acoustic field produced by the transducer. These sidelobes were analyzed by wave-vector phase matching between the optical and acoustic fields, which correlated with measurements made with a TeO2 AOTF. A white-light point source was filtered and imaged, showing reasonably large and slowly decreasing sidelobes covering a large spectral range. This effect reduces the image quality of an AOTF system by producing faint secondary images of bright objects. The image quality can be improved with a telecentric confocal optical arrangement in which the angular shift of the sidelobes is greatly reduced, producing a much sharper image. This effect was also demonstrated experimentally with the point source.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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