Abstract

High-efficiency diffractive elements with a continuous phase-modulation capability can be realized either by means of a surface profile or a refractive-index distribution. We consider the latter approach, expanding on our recent proposal [Appl. Phys. Lett. 66, 917 (1995)] to fabricate graded-index diffractive structures by thermal ion exchange in glass. A rapid approximate method is developed to obtain a predesign of the ion-exchange mask, which is then refined by parametric optimization based on solutions of the full diffusion problem. The use of two consecutive ion-exchange steps and postbaking to enhance the designs is investigated, and some experimental results are provided.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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