Fast steering mirrors have multiple applications. From putting on a laser light show to refractive eye surgery, these mirrors do a lot, and they all do it very fast. There are some very valid reasons for mirrors to steer so quickly too.
Lasers Do NOT Move in Slo-Mo
Fast steering mirrors are fast because lasers are never slow. If the mirrors do not move as fast or faster than any laser, the targeted areas will be missed, and the lasers will not get to the target area. While the mirrors themselves can operate in slower motion, the lasers cannot. Hence, the mirrors must be the faster moving objects in order to direct and reflect the lasers.
In Medical Applications, Fast Equals Faster Surgery Completion Time, Faster Recovery, and Less Pain
If you were to watch laser eye surgery, you would see that the patient has to keep his/her eyes open for a minimum of ten seconds. That is a long time when the human eye blinks at least twice in that ten seconds. The doctor performing that surgery uses special equipment that immobilizes the eyeballs and prevents the lids from blinking.
The fast steering mirrors then aim the laser just right to first cut a corneal flap and then make tiny incisions to reshape the eyeballs. None of that would be possible if fast steering mirrors did not exist and/or could not quickly direct the laser beam. Additionally, patients for eye surgery are awake, and rarely in the chair for more than fifteen or twenty minutes.
Exact Angles of Deflection Are Difficult to Get
If mirrors were controlled manually by people or by slow-moving automation, it would be extremely difficult to respond to lasers to get the perfectly correct angle of deflection at the precise time. If you want to deflect a laser off of a mirror at ninety-nine degrees every 1.2 seconds, there is no way human or automated hands could keep up or make it work. Fast steering mirrors programmed and controlled by computers with super-fast microprocessors on the other hand can nail those requirements every time.
How to Get Your Own Steering Mirrors
If you need fast steering mirrors for any reason, there are plenty of technology companies that carry and sell them. Explain to a manufacturer what you need the mirrors for, and they will help you purchase the correct ones. Then have one of their professional installation technicians help you install them.