In order to conduct future optical experiments with the SLED and to be able to predict the behavior of the beam as it propagates across the table and through various optics, it is necessary to know the properties of the beam. The spot size, divergence angle, and radius of curvature are all of interest if we wish to be able to predict the pattern which should appear on the Hartmann sensor given a certain optical layout.
Mathematica was used to simplify this integral, and it showed it to be equivalent to:
where Erfc() is the complementary error function. Note that for fixed z, this intensity is a function only of xm. If an experiment was carried out to measure the intensity of the beam blocked by a plate from x=-inf to x=xm for multiple values of xm, it would therefore be possible via regression analysis to compute the best-fit values of A, w, and x0 for the measured values of Ipd and xm. This would give us A, w and x0 for that z-value. By repeating this process for multiple values of z, we could therefore find the behavior of these parameters as a function of z.
The razor blade was mounted on a New Focus 9091 Translational Stage, the relative displacement of which in the x-direction was measured with the Vernier micrometer mounted on the base. Tape was placed on the front of the razor so as to block light from passing through any of its holes. The portion of the beam not blocked by the razor then passed through a lens which was used to focus the beam back onto a PDA1001A Large Area Silicon Photodiode, the voltage output of which was monitored using a Fluke digital multimeter. The ruler stayed securely clamped onto the optical table (except when it was translated in the x-direction once during the experiment, as described later).
A MATLAB function 'gsbeam.m' was written to replicate the function:
(note that the width calculated from the 26th measurement is not included in the regression calculation or included on this plot. The width parameter was calculated as being exactly the same as it was for the 25th measurement, despite the other parameters varying between the measurements. I suspect that the beam size was starting to exceed the dimensions blocked by the razor and that this caused this problem, and that would be easy to check, but I have yet to do it. Regardless, the fit looks good from just the other 25 measurements)
%Imports array of beam characterization measurements. Structure of M is
% [z, x, I, a] where z is the displacement of the beam blockage along
% the optical axis, x is the coordinate of razor edge, I is the measured
% output of the photodetector and a is the ambient light level
%and guess is an estimate of the parameters [Amplitude x0 width] for the
%Output Structure [z A x0 w residual_2norm]