Refractive beam shapers of the field mapping type find use in various industrial, scientific and medical applications,
where generation of a collimated beam of uniform intensity is required. Due to their unique features, such as: low output
divergence, high transmittance and flatness of output beam profile and extended depth of field, refractive field mappers
may also be successfully used in combination with beam shaping optics of other operational principles. This combining
makes it possible to improve drastically the performance of these beam shaping techniques.
For example, the non-uniformity of the beam profile of many lasers leads to complexity and inconvenience in various
beam shaping techniques based on applying spatial light modulators (SLM). Applications include Computer Generated
Holography (CGH), holographic projection processing applications, holographic lithography, optical trapping and laser
illumination in confocal microscopes. With a collimated flattop beam provided by refractive field mappers these
techniques become easier to use, more effective and reliable in operation.
There are different kinds of refractive beam shapers of field mapping type used to transform the laser intensity distribution in order to get improvements or special effects in various laser technologies like welding, cladding, hardening, laser techniques in photovoltaics, etc. A right choice of a suitable beam shaper depends on physical specifications of a particular laser application. As a rule, when a final laser spot size is orders of magnitude greater than a laser wavelength, say of millimetre or centimetre scale, it is optimum to apply the beam shapers providing a collimated beam with flattop or another pre-determined output intensity profile. When a final spot size is comparable with the laser wavelength, say tens of microns in micromachining, it is advisable to apply the beam shapers intended to create the required intensity distribution in focal zone of a beam focused. Correspondingly, different kinds of refractive beam shapers, like πShaper or Focal-πShaper, should be applied.