Abstract

Optical sensors applied to practical devices often encounter beam steering: the wander and/or diffusion of laser light. Here we provide a framework for minimizing the sensitivity of transmission-based sensors to beam steering without quantitative prediction of the severity of the beam-steering field. Typical goals are increased transmission and/or minimized fluctuations in transmission; such features can improve optical sensor performance (e.g., improved signal-to-noise ratio, response time, or spectral resolution). In our framework, we introduce a parameter for characterizing beam-steering severity. We then compare two approaches for absorption spectroscopy and show that the preferred approach depends on the total spectral range monitored, the spectral resolution desired, and the severity of the beam steering.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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