Abstract

Absorption of laser beam power in optical elements induces thermal gradients that may cause unwanted phase aberrations. In precision measurement applications, such as laser interferometric gravitational-wave detection, corrective measures that require mechanical contact with or attachments to the optics are precluded by noise considerations. We describe a radiative thermal corrector that can counteract thermal lensing and (or) thermoelastic deformation induced by coating and substrate absorption of collimated Gaussian beams. This radiative system can correct anticipated distortions to a high accuracy, at the cost of an increase in the average temperature of the optic. A quantitative analysis and parameter optimization is supported by results from a simplified proof-of-principle experiment, demonstrating the method’s feasibility for our intended application.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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