An optical limiter was designed and fabricated. The device consists of an organic solution sandwiched between a polymer slab and a transparent relief polymer grating with a triangular groove. At low power the device has a high transmittance because the refractive index of the solution is matched with those of the slab and the grating materials and because the grating does not diffract. However, high power makes the organic solution thermally vaporize and makes the indices of the solution, slab, and grating materials become mismatched, which causes the grating to appear. The incident light is strongly absorbed, scattered, and self-defocused by the organic solution, and the grating suppresses the zero-order diffraction. Thus the transmitted light energy becomes lower than the damage threshold of human eyes or optical sensors. The device is an effective protection for human eyes or optical sensors against broadband pulsed-laser damage.
© 2005 Optical Society of America
(140.3360) Lasers and laser optics : Laser safety and eye protection
(190.4870) Nonlinear optics : Photothermal effects
(230.0040) Optical devices : Detectors
(230.1950) Optical devices : Diffraction gratings
Ming Chen, Chunfei Li, Yundong Zhang, Mai Xu, Shaojie Ma, Weibiao Wang, and Yuxue Xia, "Optical limiter with an organic solution sandwiched between a polymer slab and a polymer grating," Appl. Opt. 44, 4976-4979 (2005)