Beam directing and reflecting optics simply reflect, bend or translate the beam, but do not typically modify the polarization, except for polarizing beam splitters. For example, mirrors, cube corners and retroreflectors are attached to objects that move in order to keep the weight down on the moving object (instead of mounting the interferometer on the moving object).

  • Mirrors are usually attached to the moving object to reflect the beam back into the interferometer, but they can also be used to arbitrarily bend the beam.
  • Cube corners reflect, or return, the laser beam parallel to the incoming path. They cannot be used to control the angle of reflection. The angle of reflection is fixed so that the outgoing beam is parallel to the incoming beam. Cube corners have no housing.
  • Retroreflectors are the same as cube corners, but come with a housing.
  • Beam benders usually deflect the beam at angles, such as 90 degrees.
  • Manipulators are a special category of beam benders. They allow the beam to be easily translated or angled and give more precise control over the beam position.
  • Beam splitters divide a laser beam into multiple beams. The listed percentage tells you the percentage of power of the beam that is split off of the main path. The split path is typically at 90 degrees to the main path.
  • Polarizing beam splitters separate the two frequencies of the laser beam into a reference and a measurement path. Beam power is split equally between the two paths.
  • Vacuum compatible means that the optic has been designed to minimize outgassing and will function in a vacuum environment. Vacuum compatible optics are primarily used in E‑beam direct write applications where the entire exposing machine and positioning stage must be placed in a vacuum.

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