A laser cavity was designed and implemented by using a wedged polarization rotator and a Porro prism in order to reduce the parts count, and to improve the laser reliability. In this invention, a z-cut quartz polarization rotator is used to compensate the wavelength retardance introduced by the Porro prism. The polarization rotator rotates the polarization of the linear polarized beam with a designed angle that is independent of the orientation of the rotator. This unique property was used to combine the retardance compensation and a Risley prism to a single optical component: a wedged polarization rotator. This greatly simplifies the laser alignment procedure and reduces the number of the laser optical components.
This work was done by Steven Li of Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-15833-1