The following animations are best viewed using Quicktime Player Ver. 6
HOE exposure.mov (9 MB)
This graphical visualization illustrates the exposure geometry used in the manufacture of a Holographic Optical Element, or HOE, like the one used in the HARLIE system. The holographer sets up a series of optics that are used to manipulate the beam from a single mode laser, (Laser label appears) represented by the black cylinder with a green beam emanating from one end. A single mode laser is one that generates only a single frequency of light. The frequency of this mode must remain very stable during the course of the exposure of the holographic film plate, which could take many minutes. The film exposure must be done in a dark room so that the only light to expose the film is that from the laser.
(Begin naming optics in order) The first optic the laser beam encounters is a beam splitter, so called because it divides the beam into two by means of a partially reflecting, partially transmitting coating applied to one surface. Lenses are used to spread the beams out, making them diverge into cones of light. A parabolic mirror is used to recollimate one beam, so that it is no longer diverging but traveling in a cylinder that grows in diameter only very slowly with distance. Other, flat mirrors are used to redirect the beams without changing their divergence properties. A holographic film plate consisting of a thin holographic film, about 10 thousandths of a millimeter thick, applied to one side of a transparent glass substrate, is placed where the two beams will intersect.
(Begin beam motion) The portion of the beam that is transmitted through the beamsplitter is spread out using a lens. This beam fills the surface of the parabolic mirror, which collimates the light upon reflection into the direction of the film plate. This beam is called the reference beam and will have wave fronts that are flat and perpendicular to its direction of travel.
The portion of the beam that is reflected from the beamsplitter (begin second beam) is directed using the two flat mirrors through a lens that spreads the beam out in the direction of the film. Because this beam is spreading rapidly, it will have spherical wave fronts that appear to emanate from the focus of the lens. This beam is called the object beam. Where the two beams intersect their waves will interfere with each other, creating a standing wave pattern of light and dark fringes. Called interference fringes, they are similar to the patterns of standing water waves that are generated on the water surface when you tap or vibrate a glass or bowl filled with water. Standing waves are motionless, despite the fact that two sets of moving waves are used to generate them. (Close-up of film appears) The film is placed at the intersection of the beams, and the interference pattern exposes the HOE. The fringes are 3-dimensional, consisting of alternating bright and dark curved surfaces. Bright fringes occur when the colliding wavefronts from the two beams are in phase, that is, when their “peaks” are aligned. The dark fringes occur where the peaks from one beam meet the valleys of the other, thus canceling out each other’s light energy. Here we see a close-up of a simulated fringe pattern in the holographic film. The actual fringes are microscopic in size, separated by about a half of the wavelength of light, less than one thousandth of a millimeter. The energy in the bright fringes is absorbed by a chemical dye in the film, causing the film material to polymerize at those locations. This means that molecular cross-links are established that locally harden the film and increase its refractive index, which affects the way light will propagate through the film. The film now has a permanent record of the fringe pattern created by the two beams. Instead of consisting of light and dark regions, they now consist of hardened and unhardened regions in the clear film. Invisible to the naked eye, their effect on light becomes apparent when the HOE is properly illuminated.
After the exposure is complete, the film is chemically processed to remove the remaining absorbing dye, and sealed by gluing the cover glass and substrate together with the film in between. The fringe pattern recorded in the film has all of the information needed to recreate either one of the two beams by illuminating the film with the other.
HOE Playback.mov (40 MB)
This animation sequence illustrates how a transmission HOE is used in the HARLIE instrument. A laser transmitter directs its light through a lens to diverge its beam. The beam is then directed using flat mirrors through the center of the HOE. This beam acts like the original object beam used to expose the HOE. The fringes in the HOE will redirect most of this light into a beam that acts like the original reference beam used to expose the HOE. That is, it will now change direction to correspond to the direction of travel of the original reference beam and assume collimated behavior, no longer rapidly spreading out with distance. Notice that the transmitted laser beam only illuminates a small portion of the middle of the HOE. This allows us to use the rest of the HOE to act as a receiver telescope. The transmitted laser beam in HARLIE consists of a series of light pulses, each about 5 meters in length. As each pulse propagates through the atmosphere, some of the light is scattered by the molecules and dust in the air. A very small portion of this scattered light is heading back in the direction of HARLIE, where it again passes through the HOE. The next pulse is not launched until the previous pulse has left the atmosphere and the backscatter from it has ceased. This takes about 200 millionths of a second.
Because the light scattered by the atmosphere arrives from large distances, as far as twenty kilometers or more, and the HOE collects such a small portion of it, it appears to have flat wavefronts, a property of the original collimated reference beam in the HOE exposure setup. However, this light is traveling in the opposite direction with respect to the HOE, which we call the conjugate of the original reference beam. The fringe pattern in the HOE acts on the atmospheric backscatter to recreate the conjugate of the original object beam. Therefore the light will be directed to a point where the lens focus was for the object beam during exposure. This focal spot is very small, about 150 microns in diameter. It is small enough that we can place an optical fiber to “catch” the light and direct it to other optics for filtering and detecting elsewhere in the HARLIE instrument. Note that the central portion of the HOE used to transmit the laser is not available to focus backscattered light because the small mirror used to steer the transmitted beam will block the light.
To scan, HARLIE rotates the HOE by means of a belt drive and ring gear around the perimeter of the HOE. Since the HOE was manufactured with a 45-degree angle between the reference beam and the film, HARLIE transmits the laser and receives atmospheric backscatter only at this angle. Therefore, when we rotate the HOE it makes a conical scan of the sky.
harlie_trailer.mov (6.5 MB)
utah.mov (64.7MB, Quicktime Movie)(taken March 10 at Space Dynamics Lab)
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