Real time control of Laser modes using intra-cavity Digital Holograms (Digital Laser) – Instant Access

digilaserReal time Laser control method to create on demand laser modes using an electronically addressed intra-cavity holographic mirror. This technology enables users to generate specific spatial profiles and to change their manufacturing process cost effectively

CSIR Instant Access Licensing logo symbol finalThis technology is available for easy, fast-track access under the CSIR Instant Access™ programme!

Technology field / OU or Centre:

Lasers/CSIR National Laser Centre

Technology description:

It is well-known how to control the spatial output from a laser, with most solutions to date involving customised intra-cavity elements in the form of apertures, diffractive optics and free-form mirrors. These optical elements require considerable design and fabrication effort and suffer from the further disadvantage of being immutably connected to the selection of a particular spatial mode.

Consequently, most laser systems are designed for the ubiquitous Gaussian mode, whereas it is clear that there are many instances when a customised mode would be preferable. We overcome these limitations with the first digital laser, comprising an electrically addressed reflective phase-only spatial light modulator as an intra-cavity holographic mirror. The phase and amplitude of the holographic mirror may be controlled as simply as writing a new gray-scale image (computer generated hologram) to the device: on demand laser modes.

We show that we can digitally control the laser modes with ease, albeit with higher round-trip losses and thus requiring higher gain, and demonstrate the versatility of the technique by switching between several spatial modes in an otherwise standard solid-state laser resonator.


All laser manufacturers worldwide are constantly trying to improve their
laser systems to increase their market share at the cost of their competitors
or access new markets and new applications. The technology described herein
will improve versatility of their lasers significantly, by allowing generation
of a multiplicity of laser beams and give them access to new applications.


The real-time control of laser modes. The technology being proposed will
present the direct-users  with several
benefits with some alterations to their existing designs and manufacturing
processes. Regarding the end-users, due to these improvements, they can
purchase lasers from the manufacturers that are much more flexible and can
dispense with external optical systems to generate specific spatial profiles,
thereby allowing them to access new applications or re-address existing
applications that have been inaccessible due to cost or dimensional

Intellectual property:


Contact person and email:

F.J. Prinsloo:

CSIR Instant Access™ Licensing Programme

Digital laser video – real time laser beam shape change


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