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Definition: mirrors with significantly different reflection or transmission properties at two different wavelengths
German: dichroische Spiegel, dichroitische Spiegel
A dichroic mirror is a mirror with significantly different reflection or transmission properties at two different wavelengths. Dichroic mirrors are required e.g. for separating or combining laser beams with different wavelengths, e.g. to introduce the pump beam into a laser resonator, or for extracting a harmonic beam in a laser with intracavity frequency doubling.
Dichroic mirrors are usually fabricated as dielectric mirrors. Depending on the case, the design of the required layer structure may be possible based on analytical considerations, possibly followed by a numerical optimization, or entirely on numerical optimization, e.g. with a Monte-Carlo method. In many cases, the design involves a compromise between the obtained optical properties, the required number of layers, and the required growth precision.
As a dichroic mirror has to be transparent for at least one wavelength of interest, the quality (e.g. transmission losses) of the substrate material and possible reflections from the back side need to be considered. An anti-reflection coating on the backside can help to reduce such a reflection, and a slight wedge form of the substrate can often eliminate the effects of residual reflection.