Abstract

The use of diffractive optical elements (DOEs) to generate complex raster images for a primarily artistic purpose is dealt with. Aspects of human vision that are relevant for the design of such elements are discussed. A design method based on an iterative Fourier transform algorithm and extended with elements from the direct-binary-search and the simulated-annealing algorithms is described. The proposed method provides a large set of parameters that can be adjusted freely to optimize it for any given design task. For demonstration a phase-only DOE was designed that generates an image of a Chinese dragon as a diffraction pattern. It was realized as a surface-relief element on a planar substrate through multilevel binary lithography and reactive-ion etching. Experimental tests confirm the usefulness of the design and the fabrication procedures to achieve excellent image quality.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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