Abstract

An optical system useful to tune in a controlled way the color of a triline argon krypton (Ar–Kr) laser by means of a twisted nematic liquid crystal display (TNLCD) is presented. The optical setup employs a 4f system and two blazed gratings to first separate and then recombine the spectrum of the light beam. The TNLCD is included in the intermediate focal plane operating in the amplitude modulation mode to control the relative transmission of each spectral line. The resulting color is accurately predicted by using a previously developed physical model of the spectral and voltage dependence of the TNLCD birefringence. By simply changing the gray level image addressed to the display, the Ar–Kr laser is color modulated at a video rate, thus becoming an interesting, reconfigurable, coherent light source for applications such as multicolor holography or color inspection.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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