Abstract

Off-axis parabolic telescopes, widely used in astronomy and laser optics, if perfectly tuned, are virtually free from aberrations along the parabola’s axis direction, but their alignment is very critical. We present a detailed method to align a high magnification off-axis afocal parabolic telescope. The method is composed of two steps: an initial pre-alignment using autocollimators, followed by a fine tuning with a collimated laser beam. Due to the large telescope magnification, the outcoming beam cannot be measured without being refocused. The beam is therefore reflected on a flat mirror and sent back through the telescope. This double-pass configuration allows the measurement of the beam quality without the need for large additional optics. In the fine-tuning step, a numerical simulation is also used to identify the degrees of freedom to be adjusted. The experimental results presented are obtained with one of the mode-matching parabolic telescopes of the gravitational wave interferometric detector Advanced Virgo.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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