Hybrid elements containing optical power with both diffractive (holographic) and refractive components are shown to be useful for obtaining arbitrary or, in special cases, achromatic dispersive characteristics. In one configuration a volume holographic element is coated on the surface of a crown glass lens, and by varying the power distributions among the refractive and holographic components while maintaining constant overall optical power the effective Abbe V numbers of the resultant hybrid element are shown to span all real numbers excepting a narrow interval around zero. In the achromat case (V number = ∞), both refractive and diffractive components are of the same sign resulting in much smaller glass curvatures than in all-refractive achromat doublets or apochromat triplets. The large separation between holographic partial dispersions and available glass partial dispersions is shown to lead to hybrid three-color achromats with greatly reduced glass curvatures. Applications are expected to include broadband achromatic objectives and chromatic aberration corrector plates in high performance optical systems. Such corrector plates may have any net power (including zero) while exhibiting effective V numbers that are positive or negative and that span a wide range, e.g., ±1 or ±1000. Further advantages include reducing the need for choosing high dispersion glasses, which may be costly and difficult to grind or polish. High diffraction efficiency and broad spectral bandwidths (in excess of 3000 Å) are obtained in the holographic optical elements using single-element central-stop and cascaded element designs.
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