Based on the vector form Snell’s law, ray tracing is performed to quantify the pointing errors of Risley-prism-based beam steering systems, induced by component errors, prism orientation errors, and assembly errors. Case examples are given to elucidate the pointing error distributions in the field of regard and evaluate the allowances of the error sources for a given pointing accuracy. It is found that the assembly errors of the second prism will result in more remarkable pointing errors in contrast with the first one. The pointing errors induced by prism tilt depend on the tilt direction. The allowances of bearing tilt and prism tilt are almost identical if the same pointing accuracy is planned. All conclusions can provide a theoretical foundation for practical works.
© 2014 Optical Society of America
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