Diffractive Optical Elements (DEO) are made of many different materials to possess certain microstructure designs that change and control the phase of the emitted laser light. By changing the microstructure designs, it is possible for such an element to create any desired beam shape or intensity pattern to fulfill intended application needs. The use of diffractive optical elements has wide ranging applications in numerous industries. Some of the common industries using diffractive optical elements are lasers, welding, photography, medical applications and coating applications. In this article, I will discuss the benefits of diffractive optics elements.
Benefits of diffractive optical elements
When lasers are employed in the production of a metal coating, the application process involves diffusion of a metal substrate onto a work piece with a layered thickness of metallic salts. Metal oxides and boron nitride are often used as diffractive optics media. Laser beam shaping with the help of diffractive optical elements helps to create precisely controlled surface areas by adjusting the phase of light emitted by the element. This method of beam shaping provides customized surface treatments to a wide range of work pieces.
Another industry which sees the usage of diffractive optical elements extensively is photography wherein the use of such elements is seen in photographic lenses. Diffractive lenses are made to allow for controlled distance between subjects and thus enabling photographers to capture scenes in various dimensions. Such lenses are also widely used in night vision optics and military applications, such as binoculars and GPS systems.
Military applications also make use of diffractive optical elements. A popular application of these elements in military laser applications is for the detection of targets at a distance. These elements are shaped to focus laser beams on a focused spot. The resulting optical images are used for identification and tracking purposes. This technology enables military personnel to better detect targets that are located in various environments, thereby allowing them to operate more effectively.
In the medical world, diffractive optical elements have also found their way into medical laser treatments. In particular, laser materials processing is seen in the fields of cardiology, psychiatry and rehabilitation. This method of processing involves using different wavelengths of laser light to perform different medical tasks. For example, blue lasers are used for photodynamic therapy, which works to treat diabetic foot ulcers. Red lasers are often used to destroy melanoma tumors, which is a serious condition that can lead to death if not detected early enough.