The obvious way to sweep an arc with a laser is to use a rotating mirror.

However, I was wondering if it's possible to do this with solid state optics and, if so, how this could be accomplished?


1 Answer 1


A 2D acousto-optic deflector should do the trick. You pass in RF signals that drive a piezo which induces sounds waves in an acousto-optic crystal. The sound wave propagate transverse to the optical axis and induce an index of refraction grating. The laser beam then diffracts off of the acousto-optic grating. The deflection angle is controlled by the RF frequency. In short, AODs allow you to deflect an optical beam using electronic RF signals. One caveat that may or may not matter is the frequency of laser light is shifted by the RF frequency which is sent in so the frequency of light out is slightly different than the frequency of light in and this varies by deflection angle.

  • $\begingroup$ Is there a limit to the deflection angle that can be accomplished with this without distorting the beam too heavily? $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2021 at 10:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ One AOD that I have used is specified to scan by up to 49 mrad. This is limited not by beam distortions but by a decrease in diffraction efficiency. So as you approach this limit you will find the output power to drop. You would need to find an AOD specific to your laser wavelength and find the appropriate specifications. I recommend speaking with a vendor about these issues. $\endgroup$
    – Jagerber48
    Mar 25, 2021 at 15:06

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