HP Labs Technical Reports
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A Semi-Imaging Light Pipe for Collecting Weakly Scattered Light
Hopkins, George; Simons, Tad D.
Keyword(s): lightpipe; light pipe; non-imaging optics; concentrator
Abstract: A simple reflective light pipe, formed from a cylindrical tube with an external reflective coating and a small central aperture, can be a highly efficient optical element for collecting light from molecular scattering processes along the path of a laser beam. When the laser beam is co-linear with the axis of the light pipe, scattered light from any location along the interaction region (near the pipe axis) re-images repeatedly to another location along the axis of the pipe. This semi-imaging property of the light pipe permits a large fraction of the total scattered light to re-image along the entire length of the interaction region. If one observes through the small central aperture, scattered light from the single segment of the laser beam in view appears to come from all the locations along the interaction length, as well as from the single segment. In this manner, one can have the advantage of collecting scattered light from a small segment (and thus onto a small detector), while observing an effective interaction length that is many times longer than the segment. Measurements from practical light pipes confirm effective gains of about 10X with light pipes a few centimeters long (Effective gain is defined as the ratio of light collected with the light pipe divided by the light collected from a direct image of the beam using the collection optics).
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