Abstract

We present a straightforward method to design multilevel phase-only diffractive optical elements with a locally improved signal-to-noise ratio in the reconstruction. The method is generally applicable to all unidirectional design schemes, such as direct search, simulated annealing, or genetic optimization. As the shape and the location of the desired low noise areas are supplied by a bit map file the method allows for the design of basically any two-dimensional low noise area. The improvement in the signal-to-noise ratio that may be achieved is considerable but also entails reduced diffraction efficiency. The suggested method is applied to different beam-splitter design examples. All examples are calculated with the scalar diffraction approximation in the far field.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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