Abstract

Novel fluorescence microscopy techniques and two-color laser direct imaging photolithography methods that enable resolution an order of magnitude beyond the diffraction limit require Laguerre–Gaussian beams and a fast and precise laser beam steering device to obtain images and produce microstructures. An acousto-optic deflector (AOD) is a suitable choice and provides high-speed random access beam positioning with subnanometer precision as well as beam intensity control in a single element. In high-resolution applications, the impact of an AOD on beam quality plays a major role. We study the transfer function of an AOD for a fundamental Gaussian and a doughnut-shaped Laguerre–Gaussian beam by measuring the beam quality as a function of the diffraction angle after passing through the device. It is demonstrated that an AOD introduces negligible distortion and degradation to the beam profile and is therefore highly suitable for use in super-resolution imaging and photolithography techniques where manipulation of Laguerre–Gaussian doughnut-shaped beams is required.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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