Spinning pipe gas lens aberrations along the axis and in the boundary layer

Authors

  • Cosmas Mafusire CSIR National Laser Centre, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Andrew Forbes 1. CSIR National Laser Centre, Pretoria, South Africa 2. School of Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa 3. School of Physics, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa 4. School of Physics, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1590/sajs.2013/20130083

Keywords:

gas lenses, graded index lenses, Shack-Hartmann sensor, optical aberrations, aerodynamic media

Abstract

When the walls of an open-ended horizontal steel pipe are heated before the pipe is rotated along its axis, the exchange of the expelled heated air with the incoming cooler air, sucked in along the axis, results in a medium capable of focusing a laser beam propagating along the pipe’s axis – a spinning pipe gas lens. However, the interaction of the heated and cooler air generates local density fluctuations which generate aberrations on the laser beam wavefront. We present results for the characterisation of these aberrations using a Shack- Hartmann wavefront sensor. The measurements show that along the axis, rotating the pipe decreases y-tilt as a result of the removal of distortions caused by gravity, although there is an increase in higher-order aberrations. However, in the boundary layer, the dominant aberration is x-astigmatism which increases with rotation speed. The results are confirmed by the measurement of the beam quality factor which increases as a result of the increase in the size of the higher-order aberrations. The spinning pipe gas lens is a device which can be used to focus laser beams using air only, but, in the process, the air introduces distortions which reduce the quality of the beam.

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Published

2013-11-25

How to Cite

Mafusire, C., & Forbes, A. (2013). Spinning pipe gas lens aberrations along the axis and in the boundary layer. South African Journal of Science, 109(11/12), 6. https://doi.org/10.1590/sajs.2013/20130083

Issue

Section

Research Article
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