Corner Cube Prism

A corner cube prism, also known as a retroreflector or CCR (Corner Cube Retroreflector), is an important optical component with a unique property: it reflects an incoming beam of light back toward its source, regardless of the angle at which the light enters. This property makes corner cube prisms highly valuable in various applications, including:

  • Spectroscopy: Corner cube prisms are used to precisely redirect light in spectrometers, making them essential for the analysis of light spectra in fields like astronomy and chemistry.
  • Satellites: Retroreflectors are often placed on satellites and other space objects for laser ranging, allowing precise measurements of distances between these objects and Earth.
  • Battlefield Technology: They are utilized in military applications for precise targeting and ranging.
  • Land Surveying: Surveying instruments, such as total stations, use corner cube prisms to accurately measure distances and angles.
  • Laser Resonator Cavities: Corner cube prisms help maintain the alignment of laser beams within resonator cavities in laser systems.
  • Electronic Distance Measurement: They play a crucial role in distance measurement devices used in construction and surveying.
  • Space Vessel Docking: Corner cube retroreflectors are utilized for precise docking and rendezvous of space vessels and vehicles.
Corner Cube Prism
Corner Cube Prism
Corner Cube Prism

Sample Designs for Corner Cube Prisms

These prisms function through three internal reflections on three mutually orthogonal prism surfaces, resulting in a reflected beam that is parallel to the incident light. The accuracy of the reflection is limited mainly by the surface orientation and the precision specifications of the prism. Corner cube prisms typically have a specified angular deviation of less than 3 arcseconds.

Avantier offer corner cube prism Specifications and Customization:

  • Customization: We offer the flexibility to customize corner cube prisms to meet your specific optical requirements, including size, coatings, and precision specifications.
  • Quality Control: Every retroreflector is individually inspected using state-of-the-art ZYGO interferometers to ensure that it meets the specified standards.
  • Beam Deviation: Standard corner cubes have minimal beam deviation to provide precise reflection of light.
  • Coatings: Protected metal coatings can be applied to reduce phase-shifting wavefront aberrations, if needed.
  • Truncated Retroreflectors: For situations where space and weight are limited, truncated retroreflectors can be produced. These prisms maintain the same precise beam deviation and transmitted wavefront as non-truncated corner cube prisms.
  • Lateral Transfer Corner Cubes: In cases where significant lateral beam displacement is required, lateral transfer corner cubes are available. These prisms feature one trihedral reflecting face at one end and two other trihedral reflecting faces forming a roof at the opposite edge.
  • Materials: Corner cube prisms are available in various materials, including BK7 Grade A optical glass, Corning fused silica 7980, JGS1 UV grade fused silica, and JGS2 optical grade fused silica, allowing you to choose the material that best suits your application.

The choice of material depends on factors like optical properties, thermal resistance, and transmission characteristics. For example, JGS1 UV grade fused silica is known for its excellent ultraviolet transmission, while JGS2 optical grade fused silica is used when OH absorption needs to be minimized. Corner cube prisms are essential components in a wide range of applications, contributing to precise light redirection and measurement in various scientific, industrial, and space-related fields.

Please contact us for more information about the corner cube prisms we have in stock or to request a custom order or optical design.


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