Abstract

We present an easy, simple, and inexpensive technique for checking the quality of the collimation of optical beams using the Lau effect combined with moiré readout. The experimental arrangement consists of a modified Lau-based interferometer in which a white-light incoherent source illuminates a set of two gratings. A collimating lens is placed between the two gratings such that the self-images of the second grating are formed. The third grating is positioned at one of the self-imaging planes forming moiré fringes. The type of the moiré fringe demonstrates the quality of collimation of the optical beam. The necessary theoretical background is presented and the results of our experimental investigation are reported. The technique can also be used for accurate determination of the focal length of a collimating lens using low-cost components.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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