Dispersing prisms are essential parts in most ultrashort-pulse laser systems. These prisms are used as intra-cavity elements to compensate for dispersion of fixed-cavity optics, such as an active gain medium. But in most cases, they are used as extra-cavity elements to manipulate pulse characteristics.
Altechna offers three materials with different dispersive properties. For the highest level of group velocity dispersion, dense SF10 is used, with prisms made of SF10 featuring a GVD of ~155 fs²/mm (λ = 800 nm). In the case of UV fused silica, the GVD is equal to ~36 fs²/mm (λ = 800 nm).
For intermediate GVD values of about 60 fs²/mm (λ = 800 nm), LaK21 prisms are also available.
Standard prisms feature a high surface quality and flatness, with only high-purity optical materials used in their production. Dispersing prisms are designed in a way that satisfies the conditions of minimum loss through entry and exit at Brewster’s angle.
Such prisms are well-known in pop culture from Pink Floyd’s album “The Dark Side of the Moon”, the cover of which shows a dispersing prism separating white light into the colors of the rainbow.