OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 48, Iss. 14 — May. 10, 2009
  • pp: 2678–2685

Neutral density filters with Risley prisms: analysis and design

Virgil-Florin Duma and Mirela Nicolov  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 48, Issue 14, pp. 2678-2685 (2009)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (674 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



We achieve the analysis and design of optical attenuators with double-prism neutral density filters. A comparative study is performed on three possible device configurations; only two are presented in the literature but without their design calculus. The characteristic parameters of this optical attenuator with Risley translating prisms for each of the three setups are defined and their analytical expressions are derived: adjustment scale (attenuation range) and interval, minimum transmission coefficient and sensitivity. The setups are compared to select the optimal device, and, from this study, the best solution for double-prism neutral density filters, both from a mechanical and an optical point of view, is determined with two identical, symmetrically movable, no mechanical contact prisms. The design calculus of this optimal device is developed in essential steps. The parameters of the prisms, particularly their angles, are studied to improve the design, and we demonstrate the maximum attenuation range that this type of attenuator can provide.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(220.0220) Optical design and fabrication : Optical design and fabrication
(230.0230) Optical devices : Optical devices
(230.5480) Optical devices : Prisms
(350.2450) Other areas of optics : Filters, absorption
(120.4880) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Optomechanics

ToC Category:
Optical Devices

Original Manuscript: February 23, 2009
Revised Manuscript: April 12, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: April 13, 2009
Published: May 5, 2009

Virgil-Florin Duma and Mirela Nicolov, "Neutral density filters with Risley prisms: analysis and design," Appl. Opt. 48, 2678-2685 (2009)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. M. Bass, Handbook of Optics (McGraw-Hill, 1995).
  2. G. Paez, M. Strojnik and G. G. Torales, “Vectorial shearing interferometer,” Appl. Opt. 39, 5172-5178 (2000). [CrossRef]
  3. K. Oka and T. Kaneko, “Compact complete imaging polarimeter using birefringent wedge prisms,” Opt. Express 11, 1510-1519 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. T. Oseki and S. Saito, “A precision variable, double prism attenuator for CO2 lasers,” Appl. Opt. 10, 144-149 (1971). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. V. F. Duma, “Double-prisms neutral density filters: a comparative approach,” Proc. SPIE 6785, 67851W (2007). [CrossRef]
  6. A. Li, L. Liu, J. Sun, X. Zhong, L. Wang, D. Liu, and Z. Luan, “Research on a scanner for tilting orthogonal double prisms,” Appl. Opt. 45, 8063-8069 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. W. C. Warger II and Ch. A. DiMarzio, “Dual-wedge scanning confocal reflectance microscope,” Opt. Lett. 32, 2140-2142(2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. Y. Yang, “Analytic solution of free space optical beam steering using Risley prisms,” J. Lightwave Technol. 26, 3576-3583(2008). [CrossRef]
  9. K. V. Sriram, P. Senthilkumaran, M. P. Kothiyal, and R. S. Sirohi, “Double-wedge-plate interferometer for collimation testing: new configurations,” Appl. Opt. 32, 4199-4203(1993). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. G. Garcia-Torales, M. Strojnik, and G. Paez, “Risley prisms to control wave-front tilt and displacement in a vectorial shearing interferometer,” Appl. Opt. 41, 1380-1384 (2002). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. Y.-S. Cheng and R.-C. Chang, “Characteristics of a prism-pair anamorphotic optical system for multiple holography,” Opt. Eng. 37, 2717-2725 (1998). [CrossRef]
  12. G, Zheng, C. Du, C. Zhou, and C. Zheng, “Laser diode stack beam shaping by reflective two-wedge-angle prism arrays,” Opt. Eng. 44, 044203 (2005). [CrossRef]
  13. Thorlabs Catalog, Vol. 18 (Thorlabs, Newton, N.J., 2007).
  14. V. F. Duma, “Theoretical approach on optical choppers for top-hat light beam distributions,” J. Opt. A Pure Appl. Opt. 10, 064008 (2008). [CrossRef]
  15. G. Wyszecki and W. S. Stiles, Color Science: Concepts and Methods, Quantitative Data and Formulas (Wiley, 2000).
  16. T. Kiyokura, T. Ito, and R. Sawada, “Small Fourier transform spectroscope using an integrated prism-scanning interferometer,” Appl. Spectrosc. 55, 1628-1633 (2001). [CrossRef]
  17. G. García-Torales, J. L. Flores, and R. X. Muñoz, “High precision prism scanning system,” Proc. SPIE 6422, 64220X (2007). [CrossRef]
  18. Edmund Optics, Catalog for Optics (Edmunds Optics, Barrington, N.J., 2009).
  19. V. F. Duma, “Tri-chromatic colorimeter with mix synthesis,” Romanian Patent Request A/00224/31.03.2006, pending.

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited