Complex beam sculpting with tunable acoustic gradient index lenses

Euan McLeod, Craig B. Arnold

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Spatial Light Modulators (SLMs) have been successfully used for beam sculpting in the area of optical manipulation, however in some applications their associated pixelation, slow switching speeds, and incident power limitations can be undesirable. An alternative device that overcomes these problems is the Tunable Acoustic Gradient index (TAG) lens. This device uses acoustically induced density and refractive index variations within a fluid to spatially phase modulate a transmitted laser beam. The acoustic waves within the fluid are generated via a piezoelectric transducer. When driven with a frequency-modulated signal, arbitrary optical phase modulation patterns can be generated at regular time intervals. The resulting sculpted beam is best observed using a pulsed laser synchronized to the frequency-modulated signal of the TAG lens. As this device is purely analog, there is no pixelation in the phase modulation pattern. Also, because the only major requirement on the fluid is that it be transparent, it is possible to select fluids with high damage thresholds and high viscosities. High damage thresholds allow the TAG lens to be used in high power applications that would be unsuitable for an SLM. High viscosities provide fast damping of transient density variations and increase switching speeds between patterns. Discussion here will be limited to axially symmetric beam sculpting, however the results can be generalized to asymmetric cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComplex Light and Optical Forces
StatePublished - 2007
EventComplex Light and Optical Forces - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 24 2007Jan 25 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherComplex Light and Optical Forces
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Acoustics
  • Beam sculpting
  • Phase modulation
  • TAG lens


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