We show that the generalized phase contrast method (GPC) can be used as a versatile tool for shaping an incident Gaussian illumination into arbitrary lateral beam profiles. For illustration, we use GPC in an energy-efficient phase-only implementation of various apertures that do not block light but instead effectively redirect the available photons from a bell-shaped light distribution. GPC-based generation of lateral beam profiles can thus be achieved using a simplified optical implementation as it eliminates the need for a potentially lossy initial beam shaping. The required binary phase input is simple to fabricate for static applications and can be easily reconfigured up to device frame refresh rates for dynamic applications.
© 2007 Optical Society of America
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