Abstract

This paper presents analytical and numerical results that elucidate the impact of error sources on the performance of dual-wedge beam steering systems. Different types of error sources are considered. Specifically, we investigate optical distortions in the pattern scanned out by a single ray through a pair of rotatable wedge elements with slightly different parameters. Case examples are given to reveal the difference between the distorted patterns and the patterns produced by a pair of perfectly equal wedge elements. Furthermore, nonparaxial ray tracing is performed to investigate the impact of assembly errors on the accuracy of steering a laser beam to a remote target. We found that a misalignment in a bearing axis of rotation with respect to the system optical axis will result in a change of beam deflection off-axis that gives rise to a severe decrease of pointing accuracy to a level well below the level that a tilted wedge prism may attain.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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