We report on reflection gratings produced entirely of dielectric materials. This gives the opportunity to enhance the laser damage threshold over that occurring in conventional metal gratings used for chirped-pulse-amplification, high-power lasers. The design of the system combines a dielectric mirror and a well-defined corrugated top layer to obtain optimum results. The rules that have to be considered for the design optimization are described. We optimized the parameters of a dielectric grating with a binary structure and theoretically obtained 100% reflectivity for the -1 order in the Littrow mounting for a 45° angle of incidence. Subsequently we fabricated gratings by structuring a low-refractive-index top layer of a multilayer stack with electron-beam lithography. The multilayer system was fabricated by conventional sputtering techniques onto a flat fused-silica substrate. The parameters of the device were measured and controlled by light scatterometer equipment. We measured 97% diffraction efficiency in the -1 order and damage thresholds of 4.4 and 0.18 J/cm2 with 5-ns and 1-ps laser pulses, respectively, at a wavelength of 532 nm in working conditions.
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