|LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) systems are employed for numerous applications such as remote sensing, military applications, optical data storage, display technology, and material processing. Furthermore, they are superior to other active remote sensing tools such as RADAR systems, considering their higher accuracy and more precise resolution due to their much shorter wavelengths and narrower beamwidth. Several types of lasers can be utilized as the radiation source of several LIDAR systems. Semiconductor laser-based LIDAR systems have several advantages such as low cost, compactness, broad range of wavelengths, and high PRFs (Pulse Repetition Frequency).
However, semiconductor lasers have different origins and angles of divergence in the two transverse directions, resulting in the inherent astigmatism and elliptical beam shape. Specifically, elliptical beam shape is not desirable for several laser-based applications including LIDAR systems specifically designed to operate in the far-field region. In this dissertation, two mirror-based and two lens-based beam shapers are designed to circularize, collimate, and expand an edge-emitting semiconductor laser beam to a desired beam diameter for possible application in LIDAR systems. Additionally, most laser beams including semiconductor laser beams have Gaussian irradiance distribution. For applications that require uniform illumination of an extended target area, Gaussian irradiance distribution is undesirable. Therefore, a specific beam shaper is designed to transform the irradiance distribution from Gaussian to uniform in addition to circularizing, collimating, and expanding the semiconductor laser beam.
For the design of beam shapers, aperture sizes of the surfaces are preset for desired power transmission and allowed diffraction level, surface parameters of the optical components and the distances between these surfaces are determined. Design equations specific to these beam shaping optical systems are determined using geometrical optics principles. It is also verified that the geometrical optics is a valid approximation to the physical optics for each designed system. The design equations are derived analytically and MATLAB codes are developed to solve for the unknown quantities of the optical systems. ZEMAX and MATLAB software programs are used to analyze the designed systems with particular design examples and the results are presented.