Wavefront deformation / Thermal lenses

Absorption of intense laser radiation causes a thermal load in optical materials leading to local heating of the sample. Subsequentially there are two effects observable:

  • Change of local refractive index (dn/dT)
  • Surface deformation due to volume exapansion.

Each effect induces a reversible change in the optical properties, i.e. in particular a modification of the transmitted wavefront ("thermal lens") either enhancing or compensating the overall distortion. 

Furthermore, in case of amorphous optical materials (e.g. irradiation of Quartz samples with ArF excimer laser), there are irrversible changes like compaction leading to changes in density and thus in refracative index.

Both thermal lenses and compaction can be detected in real time with the help of a Hartmann-Shack wavefront sensor (cf. page Wavefront Detection). The image below shows a corresponding measurement of a thermal lens within a ArF laser irradiated (193 nm) Quartz plate. Thermal induced deformation of the wavefront develops inside the material within a few seconds. The optical power of the effect (wpv≈2nm) corresponds to a converging lens with a focal length of about 10 km.


Further information:

Product flyer: Wavefront Sensor (PDF)

M. Stubenvoll et al.:
Measurement and compensation of laser-induced wavefront deformations and focal shifts in
near IR optics, Opt. Expr. 22 (21) (2014)

M. Stubenvoll et al:
Photothermal method for absorption measurements in anisotropic crystals,
Rev. Sci. Instr. 87 (2016)


Only words with 2 or more characters are accepted
Max 200 chars total
Space is used to split words, "" can be used to search for a whole string (not indexed search then)
AND, OR and NOT are prefix words, overruling the default operator
+/|/- equals AND, OR and NOT as operators.
All search words are converted to lowercase.

Laser-Laboratorium Göttingen e.V. (LLG)

Contact person:

Head of department
Dr. Klaus Mann
"Optics / Short Wavelengths"

Tel.: +49(0)551/5035-41
FAX: +49(0)551/5035-99